Rafi Peretz retracts comparison between intermarriage and the Holocaust

The Education minister also reaffirmed that he respects and cherishes “the entire Jewish people, in Israel and in the Diaspora,” according to a letter released by the Jewish Agency.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
July 17, 2019 18:50
1 minute read.
MK Rafi Peretz at a ceremony at the education ministry

MK Rafi Peretz at a ceremony at the education ministry. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz retracted his remarks comparing intermarriage to “a second Holocaust,” in a letter sent to Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog on Tuesday.
 
The minister also reaffirmed that he respects and cherishes “the entire Jewish people, in Israel and in the Diaspora,” according to the document released by the Jewish Agency.
 
“In my remarks, I described how worried I am about the future of the Jewish people, particularly in light of the increasing rate of assimilation within Diaspora Jewry, a phenomenon over which I am losing sleep,” Peretz wrote. “Out of deep concern for the fate of the Jewish people, I used the word ‘Holocaust,’ an expression that expresses the depth of my agony about the issue but probably was not an appropriate term to use. It goes without saying that I had no intention of insulting a single person in Diaspora Jewry.”
 
Peretz’s comments during a cabinet meeting earlier in July sparked outrage and criticism across the political spectrum, in Israel and abroad.
 
The statement by the Jewish Agency explained that Herzog asked Peretz to clarify his words in order to prevent an unnecessary rift among the Jewish people.
 
However, it added that his appeal to the education minister came prior to the crisis sparked by his remarks regarding the LGBTQ community, on which the Jewish Agency is also seeking clarification.
 
A copy of Peretz’s letter will be sent to Jewish leaders throughout the Diaspora, and especially to Jewish Federations in North America.


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