Israeli education minister: Jewish assimilation ‘like second Holocaust’

Education Minister Rafi Peretz sparked a sharp reaction with his comparison.

By World Israel News Staff 

Education Minister Rafi Peretz has caused controversy with comments he made that massive assimilation by Jews is tantamount to another Holocaust.

His statement was made at a cabinet meeting a week and a half ago but was first disclosed on Tuesday by Channel 13 diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid.

Quoting from the cabinet transcript, Ravid reported that Peretz said: “The extent of assimilation among North American Jewry and in the world is like a second Holocaust. We’ve lost six million Jews since then like that.”

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz then said: “Assimilation is not a critical problem. First of all, we have to stop dismissing the Jews who live in America and who see themselves as Jewish historically and culturally and not just religiously.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed, saying “I am disturbed by the demographic trend among U.S. Jewry. There is a distancing from Judaism by a large segment of the Jews and it’s very hard to influence it.”

After the education minister’s comments were made public, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) tweeted, “It’s inconceivable to use the term ‘Holocaust’ to describe Jews choosing to marry non-Jews.”

“It trivializes the Shoah. It alienates so many members of our community. This kind of baseless comparison does little other than inflame and offend,” Greenblatt said.

Peretz has only recently entered his new position, having been appointed education minister by Netanyahu to serve in the transition government.

Peretz is an Orthodox Jew. But his comments drew ire even from other observant Jews.

Former Likud MK Yehudah Glick, who is also Orthodox, tweeted: “It would be expected of the education minister to think twice before speaking out and to leave the Holocaust out of comparisons.”

Glick added parenthetically in his Twitter post. “(Who is Hitler in this comparison?)”