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Reform movement petitions High Court on Jerusalem chief rabbi ‘incitement’

CM 01/08/2021 8

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A petition to the High Court of Justice demanding that Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar be put on disciplinary trial for a series of inflammatory comments against different communities has been filed by the Reform Movement in Israel, Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance  and Women of the Wall.
The petition notes that over the last five years the Reform movement has filed 16 requests regarding 20 controversial statements Amar has made to the attorney-general and the various justice ministers during that time asking for disciplinary procedures against the rabbi, but has yet to receive an answer.
In 2016 Amar described homosexuals as “a cult of abomination” and asserted that they should get the death penalty according to Jewish law.
In 2017, Amar denounced non-Orthodox Jews as worse than Holocaust deniers.
Other comments the rabbi has made include calling Reform Jews “evil people who do every injustice in the world against the Torah.” He referred to the Women of the Wall activists group as “the Satan that confuses people,” and said of the Jerusalem gay pride march that “animals and wild beasts don’t behave like that.”

Lawyers for the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Center argued in their High Court petition that Amar’s repeated vitriolic outbursts violate disciplinary codes and justify the submission of a disciplinary complaint against the rabbi under the terms of the Law for Jewish Religious Services of 1971.
“The justice minister and the attorney-general have demonstrated complete helplessness in the face of this illegitimate behavior by refraining from putting Rabbi Amar on disciplinary trial for these severe remarks,” the Reform movement said.
The organization said that the justice minister and attorney-general’s refusal to enforce disciplinary law for public officials against Amar was “extremely unreasonable,” amounted to a “dereliction of duty,” and eroded the deterrence of the possibility of disciplinary violations, and “even has the effect of giving a stamp of approval to his illegitimate statements.”
Alon Shahar, director of Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance said that Amar’s comments could not be ignored.
“If the government does not protect its citizens, does not establish boundaries for freedom of expression, and allows the municipal chief rabbi to mock and to utter contempt and hatred toward different groups in Israeli society, it is abandoning its duty,” said Shahar.
Women of the Wall director Yochi Rappaport said her organization “experiences the results of Rabbi Amar’s words every month at the Western Wall when thousands of people who listen to him and other inciting rabbis come to interrupt our prayer services and do not shy from any means of achieving their results.”
She noted that just last month violent demonstrators tore up prayer books belonging to the Women of the Wall.”
Amar again criticized non-Orthodox Jews when responding to the petition Saturday night. “They have an array of lawyers in order to fight to uproot the Torah.”
“The Reform sit in America on a fleshpot, they eat, drink, they’re rich. They help a bit here and they want to dictate [things],” said Amar in his weekly lesson, according to the Kikar Hashabbat news website.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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