Economy Minister Aryeh Deri (L) speaks to the Knesset as speaker Yuli Edelstein looks on.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Shas chairman Arye Deri said progressive Judaism has no connection with the Torah during a conference of Sephardi rabbis from around the world in the Knesset on Tuesday.
The conference was also attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking to over 100 Sephardi rabbis from 30 countries, Deri said that the only way to unite the Jewish people was around the Torah, and said that recognition of the progressive Jewish denominations in Israel would be detrimental to Jewish communities around the world.
“If we want the Jewish people to be united then we need to strengthen it around something that has united it for years, the Torah of the Jewish people,” said Deri.
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“Any recognition by the Knesset of communities with a different type of Judaism will create questions that you will have to deal with which come from recognizing something that is not the Torah of the Jewish people,” he continued, adding that the assembled rabbis were “on the front lines of assimilation.”
“We will not compromise with the Reform [movement] on anything,” the minister declared.
Deri and other haredi (ultra-Orthodox) politicians and rabbis have been fighting a bitter political and rhetorical fight against the progressive Jewish movements, stymieing the Western Wall resolution and denouncing them on numerous occasions in the last 12 months.
Implementation of the resolution, which would create a government-recognized pluralist prayer space at the southern end of the Western Wall, has been totally frozen and the High Court now looks set to intervene.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein was also in attendance at the rabbinical conference and said that it was “moving and exciting” to receive the delegation of spiritual leaders and educators in the Knesset, saying that the Israeli parliament “is the clearest and most symbolic expression of the restoration of our sovereignty here.”
Netanyahu addressed the rabbis, saying that they were protecting the “glowing embers for the Jewish people.”