Reform leader to run in Labor primary

Rabbi Gilad Kariv is party’s only candidate with kippa.

A poster promoting Rabbi Gilad Kariv (photo credit: Courtesy)
A poster promoting Rabbi Gilad Kariv
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The director of the Reform Movement in Israel, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, announced Thursday he would be running in the Labor Party primary for a spot on their electoral list for the upcoming election.
Kariv ran in the party’s previous primary election two years ago but was placed 28th on the list but Labor garnered only 15 seats.
In that race, there were two Orthodox Jews who ran, but this time, he is the only one among 37 candidates in the race who wears a yarmulke.
“It is amazing that the only kippa running in the primary is a Reform rabbi,” Kariv said.
There is a chance that due to the merger with Hatnua, MK Elazar Stern will be on the list. But he may end up accepting an offer to run with Yesh Atid rather than be placed in a borderline reserved slot in Labor.
In previous elections, Labor ran together with the left-wing Orthodox Meimad party and was served in the Knesset by Meimad rabbis Michael Melchior and Yehuda Gilad.
Kariv said that not getting elected last time did not bother him because he had no background inside the party before he ran and only got around 6,000 votes.
“This time I received signals from party leaders and Knesset members that I should try again,” he said. “I am used to fighting, so I will try again, because I think it’s the right thing to do. Two years ago, I said in addition to the peace banner and socioeconomic banner, it is important that we fly the Jewish democratic banner and battle religious extremism, gender segregation, and other troubling developments. Since then, it has only become more critical.”
Kariv said that in addition to fighting Shas and UTJ, as an MK, he would battle against Bayit Yehudi and other MKs on the Right on issues like the Temple Mount, racist legislation, and attempts to harm the Supreme Court.
The rabbi said the most urgent issue for him was to eliminate “the nationalist and religious extremism that has gone from the margin to the mainstream, which is being encouraged in the corridors of the Knesset and the rabbinical establishment, seemingly in the name of Judaism and defense of the state.”
Kariv said the public has learned the hard way that the Iranian threat is much less tangible compared to the internal threats – “price-tag” attacks, incitement and racism against non-Jews corruption among public officials, attempts to pass anti-democratic laws and the social situation.
“All these represent a danger to our democracy and our existence and the Labor Party must offer a true alternative to these worrying phenomenon and present a sane Israeli and Zionist agenda that is moderate and democratic.”