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June 20, 1986 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-06-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

uring the past few years
Jews who identify strong-
ly with their affiliation to
the Reform or Conserva-
tive movements have been
raising more of a ruckus in
their local federations about alleged
discrimination against these movements in
Israel. A very small but growing number
have been boycotting the United Jewish
Appeal campaign, as the only means at
their disposal to express their dissatisfac-
tion on this issue.
Fresh waves of resentment and demands
for American Jews to flex their fund-rais-
ing muscles build up every time the Ortho-
dox parties raise the "Who is a Jew?" issue
in the Knesset, with the aim of undermin-
ing the status of Reform and Conservative
rabbis, or whenever there is an attempt to
deny these movements equal rights in
Israel.
The Orthodox establishment in Israel,
through its grip on the levers of govern-
ment coalition politics, has prevented the
Conservative and Reform movements from
being recognized as legitimate religious
alternatives. In addition, Orthodox parties
and institutions receive extensive funding
from a variety of governmental, Jewish
Agency and World Zionist Organization
sources (see box).
In 1983/84, for example, it was calcu-
lated by the United Israel Appeal (UIA),
the body that transmits UJA funds to the
Jewish Agency, that about $26 million of
the Agency's budget went to Orthodox in-
stitutions. In comparison, only $1.9 million
went to Reform and Conservative institu-
tions during that time, the vast majority
of it to the three kibbutzim run by the two
movements.
Contrary to what many American Jews
believe, though, the Israeli political and
social system is not monolithic, nor is it
hermetically sealed against what the
Orthodox establishment sees as the intru-
sion of Reform and Conservative Judaism.
In fact, significant openings for both move-
ments in the system are provided by the
Jewish Agency and the WZO.
In contrast to the government's policy,
both the Agency and WZO are on record
in support of the principle of religious
pluralism in their policies and operations.
lb be sure, the Orthodox parties and some
of their allies in the Agency and WZO are
still opposed to pluralism; nor are other
vested interests particularly eager to share
the funds dispensed by these bodies with
the Reform and Conservative movements,
who are relative newcomers to the Israeli
scene.
For these and other reasons, then, the re-
cent attempts by the Reform and Conser-
vative movements to secure greater Agen-
cy support for their Israel-based programs

Where Do All Our Dollars Go?

30* Friday, June 20, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Art By Giora Carmi

Reform And
Conservative Challenge
The Status Quo

The non-Orthodox movements are seeking
greater support from the Jewish Agency for
their Israel-based activities. And meeting with
little success.

BY CHARLES HOFFMAN
Special to The Jewish News

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