The real issue behind the continuing unsuccessful efforts of the Conservative and Reform movements to establish a foothold in Israel is not “who is a Jew” as the leaders proclaim to gain popular support, but “who is a rabbi”(“For Liberal Jews, ‘Israel Has Lost Its Way,’” July 27).
The Orthodox rabbinate is determined to preserve its control over lucrative lifecycle events — i.e. marriages, conversions, etc. — famously awarded to them by [Israeli Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion in 1948, in creating what has become known as the “status quo.”
American rabbis want a share of this pie, including recognition, revenue and policy-making power, which the Orthodox establishment is, of course, unwilling to cede. Conservative movement CEO Rabbi Steven Wernick’s spurious accusation that Israel is “sliding toward a potential theocracy” is a shameful attempt by a failed leader in America, with no constituency in Israel, to break into the club no matter how seriously it defames Israel.