Israel's religious services minister said today (July 7, 2015) in a radio interview that "Reform Jews cannot be considered Jews," the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports.
"A Reform Jew, from the moment he stops following Jewish law, I cannot allow myself to say that he is a Jew," David Azoulay, of the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party, said this morning on Army Radio. "These are Jews that have lost their way, and we must ensure that every Jew returns to the fold of Judaism, and accept everyone with love and joy."
"Those who follow Reform Judaism living in the Diaspora are in the majority people who are wrong," he said, stressing that halachah -- or Jewish law -- determines the rules for conversion. "We want to take care of all those Jews returning to Judaism according to Jewish law."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Azoulay's remarks about Reform Judaism, saying in a statement released this afternoon from his office that they do not reflect the position of the Israeli government.