Reform Jews to boycott Israeli tourism minister following insult

Ben Sales

Rick Jacobs speaking at the 2013 URJ Reform Biennial, Dec. 12, 2013. (Courtesy of URJ)

Rick Jacobs speaking at the 2013 URJ Reform Biennial, Dec. 12, 2013. (Courtesy of URJ)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Israeli and American Reform Jews will boycott Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, after Levin made disparaging comments about the Reform Movement.

During a cabinet meeting last month on a proposed expansion to the non-Orthodox section of the Western Wall, Levin called Reform Judaism a “dying world” that has succumbed to assimilation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the statement.

In response, Israeli Reform Movement CEO Rabbi Gilad Kariv called on his American counterparts to shun Levin. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the American Union for Reform Judaism, accepted the call.

A meeting between Levin and Reform leaders in the United States next week has been canceled.

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“As long as he (Levin) doesn’t think that Diaspora Jews have no right to voice opinions on matters such as the [Western Wall], there’s no reason to give him a platform in Jewish communities and organizations in the United States,” Jacobs told Israeli Army Radio Thursday, according to Israeli reports. “Minister Levin will not teach us what support for Israel is.”

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