Above: Israeli President Reuben "Ruby" Rivlin lighting the White House Hanukkah menorah (Photo credit: The White House)
Israel’s President A “Hellenist” Who Is Selling Out “Authentic” Judaism To The Reform Movement, Haredim Claim
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Haredi media attacked Israel’s president, Reuven “Ruby” Rivlin, for attending a White House Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony that was also attended by non-Orthodox rabbis, Yeshiva World reported.
Leading the criticism of Rivlin was Yated Ne’eman, the mouthpiece of Israel’s mainstream Ashkenazi haredi non-hasidic faction headed by Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman. It is also the largest haredi newspaper in Israel, and it lashed out at Rivlin for using his official office to give legitimacy to non-Orthodox Jewish movements.
Yated Ne’eman alleged Rivlin and other Israeli leaders are following a “Hellenist trend.” It also accused them of preferring to fly to the US for photo-ops than stay at home in Israel and address the current wave of Palestinian terror. Rivlin, identified only as a “senior government official,” committed a “Hellenist act” and crossed a “red line,” Yated Ne’eman wrote, by appearing in Washington with a “Reform rabbi.”
Rivlin’s traitorous act undermines the ongoing haredi struggle to prevent the Reform Movement from prospering in Israel, Yated Ne’eman insisted, noting that the unnamed “senior government official” compounded this sin by doing it at a Hanukkah ceremony – which is supposed to commemorate the Jewish people’s victory over the Syrian-Greek effort to force Jews to abandon authentic Judaism, which Yated Ne’eman equated with today’s haredi Orthodoxy.
The White House Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony was attended by President Obama and other US Government officials, Rivlin, and Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis.
Rivlin has a long history of anti-Reform and anti-Conservative bigotry but has made an effort over the past few months to try to reach out to the non-Orthodox movements after it became clear Israel was losing large amounts of support in the US Jewish community because of Israel’s mistreatment of the non-Orthodox Jewish movements.
The vast majority of Israelis want to break the Israeli government-enforced haredi stranglehold over marriage, divorce and other lifecycle issues. A majority of Israelis also want the Reform and Conservative movements to have equal religious rights and want non-Orthodox rabbis to be recognized by the government and to be able to legally perform weddings and divorces.