Minister says he didn’t mean to hurt Diaspora Jews with Holocaust comment

Here is a letter sent by Education Minister Rafi Peretz to Jewish Agency Chair Isaac Herzog in which he expresses remorse for comparing intermarriage among American Jews with the Holocaust.

Unfortunately, remarks I made in the Cabinet meeting two weeks ago, a meeting which dealt with Diaspora Jewry, were leaked.

In my remarks I described how worried I am about the future of the Jewish people, particularly in light of the increasing rate of assimilation among Diaspora Jewry, a phenomenon over which I am losing sleep.

Out of deep concern for the fate of the Jewish people, I made use of the word ‘Shoah,’ an expression which was meant to express the depths of my agony, and probably was not proper.

It goes without saying that I had no intention of insulting a single person among Diaspora Jewry.

As one who has always championed Ahavat Yisrael – love of Israel – it is important for me to clarify that I respect and cherish the entire Jewish people in Israel and in the Diaspora.

In this context I would be happy to work together with you to deepen the education for Jewish identity.

Peretz had said in a Cabinet meeting on July 1 that the rate of intermarriage among US Jews is “like a second Holocaust.”

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