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Conservative Rabbi Criticizes Israel’s Orthodox Establishment

May 15, 1984
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The Israeli Orthodox establishment was criticized here for its failure to relate to basic moral and ethical problems confronting people in the Jewish State, according to Rabbi David Spritzer, chairman of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Israel Region.

Spritzer made his charges in an address before the 84th annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of 1,200 Conservative rabbis meeting at the Concord Hotel through Thursday. He specifically called attention to the Orthodox establishment’s lack of response to the recently discovered evidence about organized acts of Jewish violence against Arabs in the West Bank.

Once again, the Orthodox establishment has shown a reluctance to relate to the basic moral and ethical problems confronting the Jewish people in Israel, Spritzer said. “The people of Israel are looking for religious guidance on the basic question of life, as well as current moral and ethical issues. What is true patriotism in Israel today? How can we in Israel achieve a pluralistic society when God’s will is involved in these issues?”

Spritzer accused the religious establishment of demonstrating by such a failure to speak out as being “more interested in political power and the money that it brings to the religious establishment rather than the ultimate value of interpreting moral questions in religious life.”


Israel’s Consul General in New York, Naphtali Lavie, told the delegates that his government would take strong action against those found guilty of terrorist acts. “If there was the slightest suspicion of Jewish terrorists, we will take care of it. They will be put on trial and go to jail if they are convicted,” he said.

While affirming Israeli justice, Lavie criticized Israel’s neighboring states, saying, “I wish I could say the same for the Arabs. These kind of voices you don’t hear, even from moderate Arab leaders.”

There are today 40 Conservative congregations in Israel and 110 Conservative rabbis who live there and are involved in all areas of economic and intellectual life, according to the Rabbinical Assembly.

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