Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Thursday accused Reform Jews of assimilating.
"Look at what's happening with the reform because of assimilation. They're disappearing," Yishai said to a chorus of boos in a speech at the presidential Facing Tomorrow conference at Jerusalem's International Convention Center. "Those are merely the figures that I have received. I'm not making it up. There's huge assimilation and it's very severe. We're losing the Jewish people in the US."
Yishai called for the rapid immigration of Jews from the US and elsewhere in the Diaspora to prevent more assimilation.
When asked whether a Reform or Conservative Israeli chief rabbi should be appointed, Yishai answered, "In essence, in the halachic framework, there are a series of leniencies... but we cannot break the rules and the values that have been here for years, destroy them and make new ones that cause assimilation. Instead of preserving those values, it will lead to doubled assimilation."