Israeli Religious Affairs Minister Draws Fire for Belittling Reform Judaism


.Israeli Religious Affairs Minister Dovid Azoulay has again drawn fire for having the courage to say the truth about Reform Judaism.

“A Reform Jew, from the moment he stops following Jewish law, I cannot allow myself to say that he is a Jew,” Azoulay told Israel’s Army Radio on Tuesday. “These are Jews who have lost their way, and we must ensure that every Jew returns to the fold of Judaism, and accept everyone with love and joy.”

Last month, Azoulay, a member of Shas, also harshly criticized Reform Judaism, calling the movement “a disaster for the Jewish people.”

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said Azoulay’s “hurtful remarks” do not reflect the position of his government.

“I have spoken with Minister Azoulay to remind him that Israel is a home for all Jews and that as Minister of Religious Affairs, he serves all of Israel’s citizens,” Netanyahu said.

Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs applauded Netanyahu “for his unequivocal rejection of Minister Azoulay’s offensive comments about Reform Judaism.”

“We appreciate the Prime Minister’s strong and welcome words, while noting that the time may well come soon when he is forced to make clear that Minister Azoulay has forfeited his right to be a member of the [Israeli] government,” Jacobs said.

Azoulay’s comments were swiftly condemned by other Jewish organizations.

“Diaspora Jews, and especially Jews in America, where Reform Judaism is the largest Jewish religious affiliation, are critical to Israel’s sense of wellbeing and security,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which prioritizes the issue of Israel-Diaspora relations. “Representatives of Israel’s government should treat them accordingly.”

Ruderman added that Netanyahu should make it clear that “further derogatory comments will result in the minister’s dismissal.”

“It is unconscionable that for a second time in the less than a month, Minister Azoulay has publicly demeaned Reform Jews,” said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “His disturbing comments come at a time of widening divisions between the Rabbinate and non-Orthodox Israeli Jews, and growing tensions with the non-Orthodox Jewish Diaspora. Instead of bridging those divides, Azoulay’s disturbing remarks contribute to an atmosphere of exclusion and growing mistrust.”


{ Israel}


  1. He did not say the truth about Reform Judaism. He said something untrue about Reform Jews – that they are not Jewish.

    This is terrible leadership and a chilul Hashem.

  2. “for having the courage to say the truth about Reform Judaism” – he did nothing of the sort – he said that Reform JEWS are not Jews. That is not true (except for Reform converts and the children of a Jew and a non-Jewish woman).

  3. Without having heard the Minister’s words I cannot either condom or condemn. However, once one denies the authority of Jewish Law as defining the parameters of Judaism, the consequences affect the whole Jewish community. The differences in defining conversion, descent or standards for marriage and divorce are so dramatic that literally many of those who identify as Jewish simply are not according to Black Letter Halacha. Similarly how many Jewish children from second marriages are mammzarim? Certainly Israel is the home for every Jew without a doubt and Halacha , Jewish Law is not disposed to exclude anyone from the nation or from participating in the community for being simply non-observant . A Jew that sins remain a Jew. But the polices and practices of Reform and Conservative movements are so antithetical to Halacha that their tolerance and respect would be the consummate hypocrisy. Therefor the Minister should be praised for being a person of principle . Shame on the Prime Minister and the like for failing to understand this.