TEL AVIV (Jan. 5)
Outgoing Interior Minister Yitzhak Peretz, who formally resigned Sunday, accused Reform Judaism of “destroying Israel” and maintained that the recognition of Reform conversions was the “greatest tragedy which has befallen the people of Israel.”
Peretz, who heads the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, offered those opinions in a “farewell interview” on Israel Radio Monday. He resigned rather than comply with a Supreme Court order to register as a Jew Shoshana Miller, an American immigrant converted to Judaism by a Reform rabbi in the U.S. four years ago.
“Those people (the Reform communities in Israel) are destroying Israel. They are bringing the Jewish people to destruction, to assimilation. Why do the government heads not wake up? Where are they?” asked Peretz who is an Orthodox rabbi.
He accused the government of “dealing with trivialities in the face of the greatest danger ever facing Israel — even more serious than Israel’s defense problems, or the economic situation or the tax reform question.”
According to Peretz, “The day will come when this government will stand before the historic judgement of the people of Israel. The day will come when this government will have to answer because it is about to give official approval for the entrance of Reform organizations into Israel.”
Meanwhile, no successor has been named for Peretz. The Interior portfolio, traditionally held by a member of an Orthodox party, will be placed temporarily in the hands of Premier Yitzhak Shamir pending the appointment of a new Minister.