Aryeh Deri at Shas event. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
nterior Minister and Shas Party chairman Arye Deri accused the media and “interested parties” of mounting a disinformation campaign against the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) political parties over the cancellation of the Western Wall agreement and the advancement of controversial legislation on conversion.
Deri singled out the head of the Reform Movement in the US, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, and the head of the movement in Israel, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, for special criticism, insinuating that they were seeking to convert thousands of African refugees and illegal immigrants currently residing in Israel.
In response, Kariv called Deri “a liar,” adding that the progressive Jewish movements committed in 2002 to not converting anyone who was not a citizen or legal resident in Israel. He then accused Deri of exploiting concerns over conversion as cover for consolidating power in the Chief Rabbinate.
Last Sunday, the government indefinitely suspended the Western Wall agreement to establish a state-recognized egalitarian prayer section at the site and approved a bill that would give the Chief Rabbinate a monopoly on conversion in Israel.