Margi slammed for remarks against non-Orthodox Jews

Jewish Agency, Masorti (Conservative) movement decry proposed law declaring "that there are no streams in Judaism, only one."

By JONAH MANDEL
March 28, 2011 02:26
1 minute read.
Religious Affairs Minister Ya'acov Margi

Margi 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The Jewish Agency and the Masorti (Conservative) movement are up in arms about Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi’s recently expressed aspiration to see legislation determining that non-Orthodox movements have no place on Israel’s religious map.

Speaking in the Knesset last week at a ceremony marking 90 years to the Chief Rabbinate, Margi called for determining by law “that there are no streams in Judaism, only one that has been passed down to us from generation to generation.”

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“We were saddened to read reports suggesting that some MKs and at least one minister have called for outlawing the non-Orthodox streams in Israel and transforming the Israeli rabbinate through Knesset legislation into the “supreme” authority for the Jewish people everywhere,” spokesman for the agency Haviv Gur said on Sunday.

“Any talk of legislation that ‘outlaws’ branches of Judaism is harmful, divisive and reflects a lack of understanding of the religious culture and institutions of the Jewish Diaspora,” he said.

“Such a divisive initiative goes against Israel’s historic duty and responsibility to build and maintain strong ties with the Jewish world,” Gur added.

Executive-director of the Masorti Movement in Israel Yizhar Hess said that “Margi, in his uninhibited statements, is distancing world Jewry, and in fact delegitimizing them. His sentiments are wrong from a moral, ethical and Jewish point of view.

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“It is in this very difficult time, when Israel needs every gram of support from US Jewry, that Margi chose to shoot a poisoned arrow to the heart of so many Jews around the world. Margi and his cronies are damaging Israel’s security,” Hess said.

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