ARZENU, the world movement of Reform Zionists, condemns Israel’s religious services minister for his comments in a radio interview that Reform Jews cannot be considered Jews, and calls for action to be taken to prevent any further statements like this being made by a Government minister.


“It is unacceptable for a senior representative of the State of Israel to publicly undermine the Declaration of Independence and to seek to divide the Jewish people along sectarian lines.” said ARZENU President, Rabbi Larry Englander.

ARZENU joins the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism’s call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take further and more definitive action against Minister Azoulay. “As a citizen of a democratic country, Mr. Azoulay is entitled to his views, reprehensible though they may be,” said Englander, “But the office of Minister of Religion must represent all expressions of Judaism, and thus he is unfit for this position,” said Englander.

The statement released Tuesday afternoon from the Prime Minister’s office, asserting that Minister Azoulay’s comments do not reflect the position of the government has had no impact on Minister Azoulay and amounts to no more than a slap on the wrist. Such hateful and disparaging remarks by Minister demand a stronger response from Prime Minister Netanyahu.

“We endorse the Prime Minister’s statement that Israel is a home for all Jews and that as Minister of Religious Affairs, he must serve all of Israel’s citizens,” Englander said, “As such, this continued attack on Reform Jews in Israel and around the world cannot be allowed to continue and we call on the Government of Israel to take action against this divisive and outrageous behaviour.”

In light of the Minister’s continued attacks that will only serve to alienate Jews around the world from Israel, we believe that concrete sanctions should be imposed on the Minister and on Shas. We, therefore, call on the Prime Minister to insist on Azoulay’s resignation.  We also demand that the Minister meet with representatives of the Reform Movement and apologize to them.

Finally, we call on the World Zionist Congress (WZO) to suspend the membership of Shas as being anti-Zionist based on Article 2A of the WZO Constitution which says “Zionism is a movement which adheres to the basic principles of justice, equality and democracy and which rejects discrimination based on origin, nationality, race or gender.”