Jerusalem [Israel]: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under severe criticism from international Jewish groups regarding his recent approval of religious proposals by Ultra-Orthodox parties in a bid to secure his slim government majority.
Netanyahu has been ruling Israel with an extremely narrow coalition since the March 2015 election: 61 MPs in a 120-seat Knesset at the election, implying that even the smallest coalition partner could conceivably cost them majority.
International liberal Jews have been protesting against Prime Minister’s decision and even Knesset members have warned that by giving in to the demands, Netanyahu risks a major alienation of the Jewish diaspora toward the state of Israel.
Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox minority, represented by Shas and United Torah Judaism, have 13 seats between them. They issued three major demands over the past week, all related to their religious sensibilities and Netnayahu was forced to give in to their demands or face the loss of his coalition government.
These demands included the government halting all repairing of railroad tracks during the Sabbath, full control of conversions to Judaism being regulated by the state rabbinate, and finally, government reverse of the Western Wall compromise.
The approval of these demands is deepening the divide between Israel and more liberal streams of Judaism.
“The Prime Minister made this decision without even a discussion with key leaders of the North American Jewish communities,” Sputnik quoted Rabbi Rick Jacobs , the president of the Union for Reform Judaism in North America and a member of the Jewish Agency’s board of governors as saying.(ANI)