Agudat Yisrael leader blames Reform Jewry for Hitler’s rise

JERUSALEM, Dec.3 (JTA) — A leader of the fervently religious Agudat Yisrael Party this week stated that the secularized stance of Reform Jewry led to the Holocaust. Pinchas Horowitz, the party’s deputy chairman, made the controversial remark Sunday during a Tel Aviv news conference. The party had called the briefing to announce a rally against the High Court of Justice, whose positions the party views as anti-religious. According to a recording of the news conference, which was transmitted by Israel Radio, Horowitz said Hitler had first come to power in Germany, where “95 percent of the Jews were Reform and assimilated.” “That teaches that when you destroy that which exists, the Shabbat, when you destroy Judaism, when you destroy faith in the Almighty, Hitler arises.” Horowitz, who publicly denied having made the comments, said during a radio program Monday: “The Reform are the ones who do everything to destroy religion.” In response, Reform movement spokeswoman Anat Galili said Agudat Yisrael’s “manipulation of the Holocaust is sickening and not even worth relating to.” She said the movement had already filed a police complaint against Horowitz on the grounds of incitement, and that it was considering a libel suit.

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