UTJ MK Yisrael Eichler 150.
(photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
American Jewry is being destroyed by assimilation, and soon only Orthodox Jews will be left in the US, United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler argued in the Knesset Interior Committee on Thursday.
Eichler called assimilation the “silent Holocaust,” claiming he was quoting former president Chaim Herzog.
“American Jewry assimilated because Jews were forced to work on Shabbat. That’s how six million Jews became disconnected,” Eichler said.
“There will be no memory of US Jewry – only those who observe Shabbat,” the ultra-Orthodox lawmaker added. “They and their descendants will remain Jewish.”
Rabbi Steven C. Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, called for the Knesset to censure Eichler.
“It’s a shame that members of the Israeli government make such outrageous hateful statements,” Wernick said. “Further, it’s just plain wrong. North American Jewish life is thriving, in different ways than Israeli and certainly the narrow-mindedness of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewry.”
Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai, chairman of the Caucus to Strengthen Ties with Diaspora Jewry, called Eichler’s remarks “another urban legend.”
“MK Eichler thinks US Jewry became disconnected, but the truth is that it successfully preserved its connection to Judaism in the manner it chose,” Shai argued. “So what? So they’re not Jewish?”
Shai said that “the Orthodox insistence on rejecting the Reform and Conservative movements is disastrous. Our nation cannot allow itself to lose millions of Jews, and especially not the largest and most influential community, US Jewry.”