JERUSALEM (JTA) — A deputy mayor of Jerusalem refused to attend a real estate conference because it was held in a facility owned by the Conservative movement.
Eliezer Rauchberger, who represents the haredi Orthodox Degel Hatorah party and holds the building and planning portfolio, had committed to being a keynote speaker Monday at the national convention of the Real Estate Appraisers Association in Israel. But he pulled out the day of the conference after realizing that it would be held at the Agron Guesthouse in downtown Jerusalem, Haaretz first reported on Tuesday. The guesthouse hosts delegations and youth groups affiliated with the Conservative movement.
Rauchberger told Haaretz in an email that he withdrew from the event because “Reform and Conservative [Jews] champion the destruction of Judaism. The people of Israel and residents of Jerusalem, whom I have the honor to serve, are not connected to these movements and do not want them to gain a foothold in the city or within the Jewish people. I do not have and will not have any connection to these heretical movements.”
He acknowledged that he planned to boycott all events in the city connected in any way with the non-Orthodox Jewish movements.