Reform, Conservative leaders complain about Israeli hotel discrimination


(JTA) — Leaders of the Israeli Reform and Conservative movements sent a letter of complaint to the Israeli government charging that Israeli hotels discriminate against non-Orthodox Jews.

In a letter to two government ministers, the leaders of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism and the Masorti Movement alleged that Israeli hotels discriminate by refusing to grant non-Orthodox guests rooms for religious services and the use of Torah scrolls. The complaint follows reports that a Conservative tour group was denied the use of a Torah scroll by a hotel because it planned to hold an egalitarian prayer service. The group ultimately conducted a service without the use of a Torah rather than hold a service led only by men. 

"The attitude is insulting and humiliating," Gilad Kariv and Yizhar Hess wrote in their letter to Stas Misezhnikov, the Israeli tourism minister, and Yuli Edelstein, the minister for public diplomacy and Diaspora affairs. "We ask that you find the proper public manner in which to make it clear that this is an invalid policy that is not compatible with the law, a policy that damages relations with Jews in the Diaspora and the image of the State of Israel as a Jewish democratic state."

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