Marrying non-Jews is like 'Holocaust', says Israeli minister

Marrying non-Jews is like 'Holocaust', says Israeli minister
Rafi Peretz, the Israeli education minister and leader of a far-right grouping of parties in the Knesset, outraged American Jews by comparing intermarriage with non-Jews to the Holocaust
2 min read
10 July, 2019
Rafi Peretz's comments caused outrage in the American Jewish community [Getty]

Israel's new education minister has likened intermarriage among North American Jews to the Holocaust in a recent Cabinet meeting.

A spokesman for Education Minister Rafi Peretz confirmed on Tuesday that Peretz said that "assimilation is like the Holocaust" in a July 1 session.

Peretz is the leader of the "United Right" grouping of far-right parties in the Israeli Knesset and a former chief rabbi of the Israeli military.

The United Right is currently a member of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanahu’s ruling coalition and includes openly racist parties who advocate expulsion of all Palestinians from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

In November 2014, Peretz said that the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem had "no significance" to Muslims, adding, "ninety percent of the Arabs don't know a thing about the Quran. I tell you with full authority, we know better than many of them."

Much of the American Jewish community abides by more liberal streams of Judaism, whereas Orthodoxy prevails among Israeli Jews.

American Jews slammed Peretz’s comments.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the pro-Israeli Anti-Defamation League said in a tweet, "it’s inconceivable to use the term 'Holocaust' to describe Jews choosing to marry non-Jews. It trivialises the Holocaust. It alienates so many members of our community."

Relations between North American Jews and the Israeli government have been strained in recent years after plans for a mixed-gender prayer area at the Western Wall near Al-Aqsa were scrapped in 2017, as well as differing opinions about US President Donald Trump.

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