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Conservative Jewry slams ‘deplorable’ moves on Western Wall, conversion

Shelving agreement to set up area for pluralistic worship sparks criticism of Netanyahu, who is accused of abandoning the hard-won deal for political gain

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

  • Conservative Jews pray at the temporary egalitarian Robinson's Arch prayer pavilion at the southern end of the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on July 30, 2014.  (Robert Swift/Flash90)
    Conservative Jews pray at the temporary egalitarian Robinson's Arch prayer pavilion at the southern end of the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on July 30, 2014. (Robert Swift/Flash90)
  • An illustrative photo of a vote in the Knesset. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
    An illustrative photo of a vote in the Knesset. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, February 28, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, February 28, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
  • Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman attends the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset, on June 26, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman attends the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset, on June 26, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on June 25, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on June 25, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
  • Illustrative image of Women of the Wall group praying at the women's section of the Western Wall, Sunday, June 25, 2017. (Michal Fattal/Courtesy Women of the Wall)
    Illustrative image of Women of the Wall group praying at the women's section of the Western Wall, Sunday, June 25, 2017. (Michal Fattal/Courtesy Women of the Wall)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.

Sharansky warns some Diaspora Jews reconsidering Israel support

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky warns that yesterday’s cabinet decision to freeze to establish a pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall could damage Israel’s relations with Diaspora Jews.

He says the decision has led to some Jewish communities and individuals reconsidering traveling or donating to Israel.

“We won’t agree to anyone who wants to cancel his donation to Israel,” Sharansky says, adding that there have been several Jewish groups who had planned to visit the country and are threatening to cancel due to Sunday’s cabinet decision.

“Several American [Jewish] Federations have said that members of delegations no longer want to come… I am against that. On the contrary, we need more delegations,” he says.

Earlier today, the Jewish Agency surprisingly cancelld a planned gala event at the Knesset to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited.

The agency’s board also passed an unprecedented resolution calling on the government to reinstate its previous commitment to create a permanent prayer platform for non-Orthodox Jews.

May’s Conservatives sign power deal with Northern Ireland’s DUP

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives sign a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party that will allow them to govern after losing their majority in a general election this month.

“An agreement has been signed,” May’s spokesman tells AFP without revealing the details.

Northern Irish DUP leader Arlene Foster said she was “delighted” that a deal had been struck, while May says the Conservatives and the DUP “share many values” and Monday’s agreement was “a very good one”.

The agreement is signed by senior Conservative official Gavin Williamson and senior DUP member Jeffrey Donaldson, as May and Foster looked on.

— AFP

Macron says France will not recognize Crimea ‘annexation’

President Emmanuel Macron says France refuses to recognize Russia’s “annexation” of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

Speaking after talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Paris, Macron says: “France is committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty with its recognized borders.”

— AFP

25-year-old drowns in Sea of Galilee

The body of a 25-year-old man is pulled out of the Sea of Galilee, hours after he disappeared in the northern lake while swimming with a friend.

He is pronounced dead at the scene by the Magen David emergency service.

The man’s friend told the NRG news site the pair were swimming around 20 meters (65 feet) from the shore of Dekel beach when he disappeared.

Reform leader to meet with opposition after Netanyahu freezes Western Wall deal

After canceling a meeting with Netanyahu over suspending the Western Wall deal, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), is meeting with opposition and Yisrael Beytenu politicians in the Knesset.

Jacobs meets with Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni and will attend the opposition Zionist Union and Yesh Atid faction meetings today.

He will also sit down with coalition Yisrael Beytenu MK Robert Ilatov later this afternoon.

The meetings with Livni and Ilatov — whose party leader Avigdor Liberman opposed freezing the deal to build a mixed-gender prayer plaza — were scheduled before Sunday’s cabinet decision.

“We’ve been in serious negotiations with the government for over four years. We are now quite perplexed as to what it means to be in negotiations and what it means to have an agreement with the government of Israel. Evidently, it doesn’t mean very much,” Jacobs says ahead of his meeting with Livni.

“We are strategizing even more effective ways to stand up and say zu lo haderech [this is not the way],” Jacobs says, adding that this isn’t merely “a bump in the road” or “business as usual.”

While he says the movement will “reassess” its partnerships with Israeli politicians, Jacobs denies it will align with any particular Israeli political party or camp, but rather with those who share their interests.

In the United States, we “line up according to our values not according to one political party, so any parties that share our common convictions, we will work with. ”

“We’re here to work with all of our partners and all those who care about the well-being of the State of Israel and the unity of the Jewish people worldwide,” he says.

Jacobs also commends Liberman for voting against shelving the deal.

“We’re very proud of their [Yisrael Beytenu’s] stance and Avigdor Liberman’s vote in the cabinet yesterday,” he says.

— Marissa Newman

Liberman: Conversion bill, shelved Western Wall plan amount to ‘religious coercion’

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says shelving the Western Wall pluralistic pavilion and attempts to cement the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on conversions are “religious coercion.”

At the start of the weekly Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting, Liberman notes that then-cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit, who is Orthodox, formulated the original Western Wall compromise and he’s “certainly not against religion,” and Jewish Home ministers in January 2016 supported it.

This is “not a religious matter, but the opposite. It’s religious coercion,” he says.

Liberman describes the parallel efforts, at the prodding of the ultra-Orthodox parties, as an attempt “to transform Israel from a Zionist state to a halachic [Jewish legal] state.”

“I am against religious coercion,” he adds. “I am against a halachic state.”

He urges the Jewish Home party to back him in opposing the bill that would end recognition of private conversions, saying the move “first of all hurts Tzohar rabbis,” in reference to the religious Zionist organization.

And he says he was “surprised” by the decision to roll back the Western Wall deal, as it wasn’t on the cabinet meeting agenda.

Liberman also suggests he won’t derail the coalition over the disagreements, saying he hopes that he can cut a compromise in the coming week.

— Marissa Newman

Ultra-Orthodox MK derides Reform ‘crying’ over Western Wall plan

Moshe Gafni, a lawmaker from the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, slams the Reform Movement for its criticism of yesterday’s cabinet decision to shelve the hard-won deal for a pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall.

“The crying of the Reform Jews is like the man who murders his father and then turns around and begs for mercy because he’s an orphan,” Gafni says.

“They sit in the US, and intervene in what’s going on here, even though they have no mandate to do so,” he adds.

Livni says shelved Western Wall plan ‘ripping apart Jewish people’

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni says the suspension of the Western Wall deal and the new conversion bill are “ripping apart the Jewish people.”

At the weekly Zionist Union faction meeting, Livni says “Judaism is not the monopoly of the Haredi parties — it belongs to all of us and to the millions who live abroad and the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived under the Law of Return and cannot convert.”

“The prime minister who in the past whispered in the ears of rabbis that the left has forgotten what it means to be Jewish — himself forgot what it means to be Jewish and what it means to be the prime minister of the Jewish nation,” she says.

— Marissa Newman

NY Jewish federation ‘outraged’ by conversion bill, Western Wall decision

North America’s largest Jewish philanthropic organization expresses “outrage” at yesterday’s cabinet decision to shelve the Western Wall pluralistic pavilion and the Knesset’s initial approval of a bill that would cement the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on conversions.

“We are outraged at two Israeli government actions yesterday that would destroy the fundamental principle that Israel, our Jewish homeland, is a place where all Jews can and must feel at home,” UJA-Federation of New York head Eric S. Goldstein says in a statement.

The federation decries the move that will enable the ultra-Orthodox parties to “continue to control prayer at the Kotel restricting the rights of millions of Israeli and Diaspora Jews.”

The UJA also says it is “equally outraged” by Knesset’s initial approval of a bill that would cement ultra-Orthodox monopoly of conversions.

It says both moves yesterday “will only deepen the already accelerating divide between Diaspora Jews and Israel, precisely at a time when Jewish unity has never been more important.”

Deri slams Reform Movement for ‘attempting to bring a new Judaism here’

Shas leader Aryeh Deri says he has nothing against Reform Jews, only Reform Judaism.

“We have nothing against Jews, in any place they may be. They are all our brothers. Our fight is against the approach, this ideology which is attempting to bring a new Judaism here, is trying to destroy everything that we built here over the years,” Deri says at the start of the weekly Shas faction meeting.

The Shas leader casts doubt that a new compromise will be renegotiated on the Western Wall pavilion for non-Orthodox Jews. He says the cabinet agreed to freeze the agreement and formulate a new plan, adding: “if they even present an alternate solution.”

And he blames non-Orthodox Jews pushing for the deal of attempting to bring down the government, describing it as a political ploy all along.

“Unfortunately, there was an attempt here to dismantle the government,” he says. “An attempt to topple the right-wing government. I tell you, with full responsibility, that if we had done everything we did and even more with the framework of a left-wing government, we would have received praise for the responsibility we are showing for the Jewish people, for preserving the unity of the Jewish people.”

Deri, who is also interior minister, says dividing the Western Wall “destroys Jewish unity.” He says all are welcome to pray at the Western Wall. “Every Jew in the world, and non-Jews, can come pray there.”

“We will not allow anyone from abroad to come here and try and manage us and divide and destroy everything we’ve built here for 70 years,” he adds.

— Marissa Newman

Ultra-Orthodox MK claims Reform Jews ‘counterfeiting Judaism’

United Torah Judaism MK Menachem Eliezer Mozes accuses Reform Jews of “counterfeiting Judaism” and inventing their own traditions not in line with Jewish law.

“This is Judaism? I suggest you please open on the internet [and] Google ‘bark mitzvah,'” he says, referring to the practice among some Jews of holding coming-of-age ceremonies for their canines.

“Look at what is happening. Reform Jews are having bar mitzvahs for dogs in the US,” the ultra-Orthodox lawmaker says in an interview with Army Radio.

Lapid slams Netanyahu as ‘puppet PM of ultra-Orthodox’

Opposition MK Yair Lapid joins the chorus of condemnation directed at Netanyahu’s government after his cabinet shelved an agreement to establish a pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall.

“The reasons for the prime minister canceling [the plan] yesterday was political survival,” Lapid says at the opening of a Yesh Atid faction meeting. “He is no longer the prime minister of the entire Jewish people, but rather the puppet prime minister of ultra-Orthodox operators.”

Lapid also chastises Netanyahu’s ministers for giving the initial approval of a bill that would cement ultra-Orthodox monopoly on conversion in Israel.

“Yesterday, tens of thousands of immigrants were just slapped in the face by the Israeli government,” he says. “Religious Zionism also received a message yesterday: you lost! Your rabbis and your faith is inferior, you are not kosher enough.”

Adelson wraps up testimony in Netanyahu case

US billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, finish giving testimony to the Israel Police in one of the ongoing corruption investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Adelson, once considered a close friend of of Netanyahu, was questioned at the Lahav 433 serious crimes unit in Lod for a second time in under a month.

His wife also met with investigators, in her first testimony in the probe.

The case against Netanyahu centers on leaked recordings from 2014 in which the prime minister appears to promise to advance legislation designed to hobble Adelson’s free Israel Hayom daily newspaper in exchange for more favorable coverage from the competing Yedioth Ahronoth.

During his testimony to Lahav 433 investigators last month, Adelson reportedly said that he and Netanyahu never discussed a quid pro quo media deal.

Cabinet secretary slams Western Wall backlash, says critics ‘not paying attention’

Cabinet secretary and member of Netanyahu’s Likud party Tzachi Braverman is attempting to do some damage control following the backlash over the cabinet’s decision yesterday to shelve a plan for a pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall.

In a statement, Braverman says that “it is important for Netanyahu that every Jew can pray at the Western Wall,” and says that under the current rules, currently, Jews of all denominations are able to pray there.

He says critics of yesterday’s decision are “not paying attention” or are failing to “be precise about the facts.”

He points out that Netanyahu has instructed that the building work at the southern end of the Western Wall plaza — where the official pluralistic area was slated to be — continue uninterrupted.

Braverman goes on to say that Netanyahu has tasked him and Tzachi Hanegbi with formulating a an alternate plan.

Bahrain accuses Qatar of ‘military escalation’

Bahrain’s foreign minister accuses Qatar of a “military escalation” in the Gulf diplomatic crisis, an apparent reference to Doha’s allowing Turkish troops on its territory.

“The disagreement with Qatar is a political and security dispute and has never been military,” Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa says on Twitter.

“But the deployment of foreign troops with their armored vehicles is a military escalation for which Qatar will bear the consequences.”

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are among several countries that announced on June 5 they were suspending all ties with Qatar, accusing it of support for extremist groups — a claim Doha denies.

— AFP

Visiting Reform leaders cancel Netanyahu meeting amid Western Wall uproar

Visiting leaders of the US Reform Movement cancel Thursday’s meeting with Netanyahu after his cabinet shelved the hard-won deal for a pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall.

“We cannot go about our scheduled meetings as if nothing has happened,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, says in a statement. “The annulment of the Kotel [Western Wall] resolution and the passing of the conversion law have caused an acute crisis between the Israeli government and diaspora Jewry.”

“The decision cannot be seen as anything other than a betrayal, and I see no point to a meeting at this time. We will make our arguments in the Supreme Court.”

Netanyahu to attend memorial service for Helmut Kohl

The Prime Minister’s Office says Netanyahu will attend the funeral for Germany’s legendary chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died two weeks ago at the age 87.

Netanyahu will join German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and former US president Bill Clinton at the ceremony in the French city of Strasbourg on July 1.

Kohl’s body will then be taken to the Spire cemetery in Germany for burial.

US Supreme Court reinstates Trump travel ban

The US Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, overturning lower court orders that blocked it.

The action is a victory for US President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

Trump said last week that the ban would take effect 72 hours being cleared by courts.

The justices will hear arguments in the case in the fall.

— AP

Trump slams Obama, demands ‘apology’ over Russia probe

US President Donald Trump demands an apology over the Russia investigation rocking his presidency, as he keeps up a days-long attack on Barack Obama for his handling of intelligence about election meddling by Moscow.

In a storm of morning tweets, Trump charges that his predecessor “colluded and obstructed” by failing to act after the CIA informed him Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an operation to help defeat Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the November vote.

“The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling,” Trump writes. “With 4 months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero ‘tapes’ of T [Trump] people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!”

“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win, and did not want to ‘rock the boat.'”

— AFP

Knesset okays additional services for victims of domestic violence

The Knesset unanimously approves the final two readings of a bill that would grant victims of domestic violence additional services by the state.

The package of services will extend to women who have spent at least 60 days in a shelter or 6 months in other temporary housing.

The services will grant victims a social worker, employment assistance and legal aid.

ADL demands apology after Jewish participants kicked out of Chicago pride event

The Anti-Defamation League is calling on the organizers of a Chicago LGBTQ pride march to apologize after three women were ejected from the march for carrying Jewish Pride flags.

On Saturday, organizers of the 21st annual Chicago Dyke March told the women that the rainbow flags with a white Star of David in the center would “made people feel unsafe” and that the march was “anti-Zionist” and “pro-Palestinian.”

In a statement, ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt calls the incident “outrageous,” saying the “community of LGBTQ supporters is diverse and that is part of its tremendous strength.”

“Both the act and the explanation were anti-Semitic, plain and simple. We stand with A Wider Bridge and others in demanding an apology. We appreciate the Human Rights Campaign’s support and we call on other leaders from LGBTQ and progressive communities to join us in condemning this exclusion,” he says.

Opposition to file motion to unseat Netanyahu over Western Wall deal

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog says the Zionist Union faction will submit a no confidence motion against Netanyahu over his cabinet’s decision to shelve the hard-won deal for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall and the initial approval of a bill that would cement ultra-Orthodox monopoly on conversions.

“The government’s decision against the Western Wall as well as the conversion issue severely harms US Jewry, Israelis, those who seek to become a part of the Jewish people and any one else who wishes to pray at the Western Wall according to their customs,” he says in a statement.

“The message conveyed to both Israelis and Jewish communities abroad is a bitter one which creates a barrier between Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people and large segments of the Jewish people,” Herzog says.

The motion will be submitted to the Knesset next Monday.

JFNA meeting with Netanyahu over Western Wall reversal

Representatives from the Jewish Federations of North America are meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu over yesterday’s cabinet decision to shelve plans for a pluralistic worship area at the Western Wall and the Knesset’s initial approval of a bill that would cement the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on conversions.

The JFNA was central to brokering the 2016 deal guaranteeing a pavilion for non-Orthodox worship at the Western Wall.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post contained incomplete information accidentally sent to The Times of Israel from a spokesperson.

US firm stops sales of Grenfell Tower cladding for high-rises

The US supplier of cladding encasing London’s Grenfell Tower before it was destroyed by a devastating fire announces it was stopping sales of the material for high-rise buildings.

“Arconic is discontinuing global sales of Reynobond PE for use in high-rise applications,” a company spokesman tells AFP.

Smoke and flames billows from Grenfell Tower as firefighters attempt to control a blaze at a residential block of flats in West London on June 14, 2017. (AFP Photo/Adrian Dennis)
Smoke and flames billows from Grenfell Tower as firefighters attempt to control a blaze at a residential block of flats in West London on June 14, 2017. (AFP Photo/Adrian Dennis)

The firm put the decision down to “issues that have arisen in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy” and differences in building regulations around the world.

— AFP

Bill banning binary options passes 1st Knesset hurdle

The Knesset plenary unanimously approves a proposed law to ban Israel’s widely fraudulent binary options industry.

Unsurprisingly, all 31 Knesset members in the plenary this afternoon voted in favor of the law.

The new law is being praised by MKs from across the political spectrum.

Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party says the legislation will “save many families,” while opposition lawmaker Dov Khenin from the Joint Arab List welcomes the ban of “toxic and dangerous” industry.

Deri seeks to overturn court decision allowing mini-marts to open on Shabbat

Interior Minister Minister Aryeh Deri files a request for an additional hearing at the High Court of Justice on allowing convenience stores in Tel Aviv to remain open on the Jewish day of rest.

The move comes after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit turned down Deri’s request to submit a request for an additional High Court hearing on the matter on behalf of the state.

“The Shabbat and its observance is a cornerstone of the existence of the Jewish people,” Deri says of his appeal. “Given the honor of the Sabbath and its importance to halacha, it deserve additional discussion.”

In April, the High Court upheld a 2014 Tel Aviv City Council ordinance allowing the stores to remain open on Shabbat, with the court saying it would protect the cosmopolitan character of the coastal and mostly secular city.

Trump says ban ruling ‘victory for national security’

US President Donald Trump hails the Supreme Court ruling which partially reinstates the travel ban targeting citizens from six mainly Muslim countries as a victory for national security.

“Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security,” Trump says in a White House statement.

“It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective. As president, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm.”

Earlier, the nation’s highest court ruled it would let a limited version of Trump’s ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries take effect. The ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced as long if those visitors lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The justices will hear full arguments in the October.

— Agencies

GOP senator to block Gulf arms sales over crisis with Qatar

An influential Republican senator says that he’ll withhold approval of US weapons sales to several Middle Eastern allies until there is a clear path for settling a diplomatic crisis with Qatar.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, says in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that “recent disputes” among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council undermine efforts to combat the Islamic State and counter Iran.

The council is an alliance of six Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

Corker says members of the Gulf council, in the wake of a summit in Saudi Arabia last month with Trump, “chose to devolve into conflict” instead of seeking to ease regional tension and expand their security cooperation. “All countries in the region need to do more to combat terrorism, but recent disputes among the GCC countries only serve to hurt efforts to fight (the Islamic State) and counter Iran,” he writes.

Riyadh, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, cut ties with Qatar over allegations that it funds terrorism — an accusation Doha rejects, but that US President Donald Trump has echoed. The move has left Qatar under a de facto blockade by its neighbors.

— AP

New immigrants to Israel to receive citizenship upon arrival

The Knesset unanimously approves the second and third reading of a new bill that will grant new immigrants a passport upon their arrival in Israel.

The bill, proposed by Yisrael Beytenu MKs Oded Forer and Yulia Malinovsky, will do away with the current 12-month waiting period for a passport.

The new law passes 28-0, with no abstentions.

Adelson says ‘disappointed and angry’ by leaked Netanyahu tapes

US billionaire and Israel Hayom owner Sheldon Adleson tells Israel Police he was disappointed and angered by the leaked recordings of Netanyahu discussing a quid pro quo deal with his paper’s competitor Noni Mozes that would hobble his free daily.

“We didn’t know about the conversations with Mozes,” Adleson said during questioning according to Channel 2. “When we found out, we were disappointed and angry.”

Adelson, once considered a close friend of of Netanyahu, was questioned at the Lahav 433 serious crimes unit in Lod for a second time in under a month in one of the ongoing corruption investigations into Netanyahu.

His wife Miriam also met with investigators, in her first testimony in the probe.

According to Channel 2, the leaked recordings from 2014 have caused a rift between Netanyahu and Adelson.

Conservative movement slams ‘deplorable’ moves on Western Wall, conversion

The Conservative Movement condemns yesterday’s “deplorable” cabinet decision to shelve plans for a pluralistic worship area at the Western Wall and the Knesset’s initial approval of a bill that would cement the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on conversions.

In a statement, the Conservative movement calls the “rising influence of an intolerant religious establishment as an existential threat to its future and to the unity of the Jewish people.|

The movement vows “not [to] rest until these decisions not only are overturned but also until Israel fulfills the promise of its Zionist origins and founding declaration to ‘ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex’ and to ‘guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.'”

Ex-anti-Semitism envoys warn of ‘terrible loss’ of post under Trump

Two former US special envoys to monitor and combat anti-Semitism warn against the Trump administration refusing to fill that post, saying it would be “tragic” and a “terrible loss.”

Almost two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested to a House of Representatives panel that hiring such an envoy wasn’t necessary and that the overall effort to combat anti-Semitism would be more efficacious without one.

Hannah Rosenthal and Ira Forman, who each held that post during the Obama administration, dispute Tillerson’s suggestion saying the job is symbolic, and more than just confronting racism.

“It’s not just what the office of the special envoy to monitoring and combating anti-Semitism does, although that’s critically important, but it’s the symbolism of US leadership,” says Forman, who held that position from 2013 to 2017. “This would be a terrible loss.”

— Eric Cortellessa

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