Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ condemns the statement made Tuesday by Israel Religious Services Minister David Azoulay saying about Reform Jews, “I cannot allow myself to call such a person a Jew.” This was just the latest of recent comments made by elected officials questioning the legitimacy of Reform and other non-Orthodox Jews. Continued statements and related policy decisions like this will surely result in deepening the gap between Diaspora Jews ̶ particularly the younger generation ̶ and the state of Israel. We are, however, encouraged by the responses of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he clarified that Azoulay’s statement does not reflect the position of the Israeli government and of Education Minister Naftali Bennett who emphatically declared that “all Jews are Jews.” We expect further action on the part of the government to strengthen this position.
Our community has strongly supported religious pluralism and tolerance in Israel for the past 20 years through funding, partnerships, and connections. We will continue to do whatever we can to encourage the coexistence of the Modern Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements, as well as forms of worship and study designed by Israelis themselves, to enable and enhance meaningful Jewish lives for all in our eternal homeland.