Recent months have seen a series of controversies surrounding non-Orthodox Jewish movements in Israel – from the perennial campaign to challenge normative Jewish practices at the Kotel, to the recent, hotly-contested Mikveh Bill.
The debates have resonated in the Diaspora as well, particularly in the US, where some 90% of Jews identify as non-Orthodox.
But in Israel, however, the picture is reversed: the vast majority of Israeli Jews – including most of those who do not define as strictly religious – identify with Orthodox Judaism, with other denominations such as the Reform and Conservative Movements accounting for only a tiny minority in contrast.
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, whose secularist party has championed the cause of non-Orthodox denominations, took some ministers and MKs to task from the Knesset plenum on Monday, for what he said was unnecessarily insulting language against non-Orthodox Jews.
Quoting the Talmud, no less, Lapid accused his rivals of being unnecessarily hurtful in debating the issues, and warned that from a strategic perspective such sentiments could serve to distance a large portion of Israel's Diaspora supporters – whose support he described as crucial.
What do you think? Do you agree that the tone of the debate has been unnecessarily toxic, or are conservative legislators justified in pushing back against what they say is pressure coming largely from outside of Israel to overturn fundamental Jewish norms and practices?
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.