Reform slam Eliyahu Shoah remarks

Former chief rabbi under fire for blaming Holocaust on German Reform movement.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
The executive director of Arza, the Reform Movement's Zionist arm, called on the Chief Rabbinate Tuesday to chastise Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu for blaming the Holocaust on Reform German Jews. "Rabbi Eliyahu's outrageous statements point out just how out of touch he is with Jewish reality," said Rabbi Andrew Davids in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post from New York. "Anyone with the most basic understanding of German anti-Semitism would understand that there is no relationship between the piety and religiosity of Jews and the violence committed against them." Davids was referring to statements made by Eliyahu, former chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel, during an interview on a pirate haredi radio station called "The Voice of Truth" [Kol Ha'emet]. Eliyahu, who was asked what was the sin of those murdered in the Holocaust, responded that they were not to blame. Rather, he said, they suffered because of the sins of the Reform Movement. "The Reformers started in Germany," explained Eliyahu. "Those redactors of the Jewish faith began in Germany. We learn from this that it is forbidden to attempt to change Judaism." Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Mordechai's son, who is also the chief rabbi of Safed, said his father had no regrets about his comments. "It is not a coincidence that the Holocaust began in Germany," said Shmuel Eliyahu Tuesday. "Whenever Jews try to act like goyim they are punished. It happened during the Spanish Inquisition and it happened during the Holocaust." The Reform Movement in Israel filed a complaint against Eliyahu with the police. Commenting on the police complaint against his father, Shmuel Eliyahu said it reminded him of how German Jews disparaged their Eastern European brothers. Davids said Eliyahu's statements made him look ridiculous. "As a former chief rabbi who held a state position, Eliyahu's remarks shed a negative light on the entire State of Israel," he said.