As the controversy over non-traditional ceremonies at the Kosel continues unresolved, the question has arisen in the Knesset as to why the chareidim can’t be more flexible and reach some compromise with the Women of the Wall and the Reform movement.
On Monday, that very question was put to Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri (Shas) by MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid). Stern asked why the government is not working to reach an agreement with those in the Reform movement on various issues, such as use of the Kosel, Arutz Sheva reported.
“Reform Jews are our brothers,” Rabbi Deri replied, “but they do a great deal of harm to Judaism.”
Deri related that he was in the northern Israeli city of Carmiel on Shabbos, and his hosts showed him a building constructed per the dictate of the High Court as a Reform synagogue. They told him that, “On Yom Kippur they brought in trampolines for the kids and stalls distributing drinks and sweets. They showed me another building in the city that’s also a Reform synagogue.”
“Between the two of them, there are perhaps 10 people. One is Sefardi and the other is Ashkenazi. In one, they have a guitar, and in the other an organ. So I ask you: Is this the Judaism you want us to come closer to? If this is Judaism, I give up on it. This is not a real synagogue, but something different. The Judaism that I know goes according to the Shulchan Aruch and keeps halachah.”
The Interior Minister wondered aloud what the Reform Jews are looking for at the Kosel and why they so stubbornly insist on equality at this holy place.
“I pray for the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, the reinstitution of the sacrifices and the return of the Sanhedrin. They don’t believe in this, so what are they doing there? They only want to provoke and divide the nation. They are deliberately trying to destroy what’s authentic in all areas of Judaism.”