"Reform rabbis are the great enemy of the Jewish people. They tear apart the Jewish people. They are heretics and they cause assimilation and critical harm to the Jewish people," said MK Rabbi Uri Maklev in a session of the Knesset Law Committee that discussed the Law on Conversion.
MK Maklev's remarks came after MK David Rotem (Likud Beiteinu), chairman of the Committee, apologized for critical remarks he had make the week before about Reform, saying, "The Reform movement is not part of the Jewish religion. It is a different religion."
Rotem said that his remarks were not proper, "and as a result many were hurt. I did not intend to hurt anyone or to hurt the Reform movement. Some tried to twist my remarks to mean that I do not recognize the Jewishness of the Reform but that is not so. The Reform, and of course anyone born of a Jewish mother, are Jewish for all intents and purposes."
MK Maklev reacted very sharply to Rotem's remarks. "The Chairman of the Committee was forced to apologize for what he said. It is unprecedented that a Member of Knesset is asked or forced to apologize for remarks he made in a committee, for expressing his thoughts. This is a thought police... Rotem expressed thoughts about philosophical issues. This pressure group, the Reform movement, has it tentacles all over. Politicians, MKs, media people are all bribed by them. They have created a huge pressure group which has no parallel, and we just ignore it.
"I protest this... The Reform movement is destroying the Jewish people. They are bringing assimilation to Eretz Yisroel, as evidence by the law we are discussing. This is just one example of many things that are being done in public and in secret. Groups and organizations work with their funding and follow their orders. Some organizations pursue the chareidi community and other parts of the Jewish people, and try to destroy the Jewish people from within... They are the enemy of the Jewish people and cause assimilation and damage to the Jewish people. This intense pressure campaign, starting with the Prime Minister and including many others. I register my protest. We must not ignore this."