For the second time in just over a year there has been a bit of an uproar in the Jewish world over Israeli lawmakers who have made comments against Reform Jews, claiming they don’t consider them to be Jews.
This week Haaretz reported comments made by David Azoulay, Minister of Religious Affairs (and Shas MK), during an interview with Israel’s Army Radio. Mr. Azoulay said: “Let’s just say there’s a problem.” He then added, “I cannot allow myself to call such a person a Jew.”
However, the Minister later backtracked on these words in a short speech before the Knesset. It is interesting to note at the 0:57 second mark on the Youtube video of his speech that MK Azoulay states (translated from Hebrew): “The Talmud says that Jews, even if they sin, are still Jews. And nobody has a monopoly on determining who is a better Jew.”
Back in February of 2014, Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee Chairman, David Rotem, said in a Constitution Committee meeting that Reform Jews are “not Jewish” but of “another religion.” Two days later he backed off by saying the Reform Movement does not make anyone less Jewish. He claimed the comments attributed to him regarding the Reform Movement were misinterpreted by the media. See the full story in the Jerusalem Post of February 6, 2014.
Regardless of whether the Israeli government officials actually meant what they said, the point is that Reform Jews are being attacked for “not being Jewish” in a similar way that Messianic Jews are.
Therefore, it is possible that the arguments given in support of the Jewishness of the Reform community could also be applied to “proving the Jewishness” of the Messianic community.
This may be something to consider going forward.