22 November 2006

Chief Rabbi and the royal "we"

JP reports on another attempt of the orthodox establishment, this time by the Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, to modify the definition of eligibility to Israeli citizenship in the Law of Return. The eternal fight between of orthodox stream with reform and conservative ones enters another round.

What is grating in the ear (the eye in this case) is the tone of speech chosen by the Chief Rabbi:

"We don't want a situation where the Law of Return and the rights that it grants are being used indiscriminately," Amar said.
"We"? With all due respect, I would think that the Chief Rabbi will do all of us a favor by qualifying that "we". The enmity of the orthodox establishment to any other Jewish religious group is not a secret. But using this "we", the Chief Rabbi really goes over the top. Not in my name, Rabbi, neither in the name of 80% of Israelis. And as far as I heard last, the office of Chief Rabbi does not have a privilege of changing the laws of the state. Yet.
Amar's proposal also offends many American Jewish leaders, who have taken issue with Israel's rabbinical establishment and its efforts to stymie non-Orthodox Judaism.
It offends not only American Jewish leaders, I have to say. Besides, we all know exactly what it is all about - the pecking order, the monopoly on the government-dispensed taxpayers' money. Which should remind all of us that we may be better off closing this pipe for good.

Will do no end of good for Orthodox-Reform-Conservative relationships as well...