Shas MK denouncing progressive Jews puts charity in awkward place

Shas MK Yinon Azoulai’s tirade against progressive Jews from the Knesset plenum Wednesday could cause problems for a charity that had previously boasted of the MK’s volunteering.

Azoulai postulated that Reform and Conservative demands for egalitarian prayer rights at the Western Wall were in northern Israel Wednesday morning that has been followed up by two more quakes.

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Speaking from the podium during a motion to the agenda, Azoulai said non-Orthodox Jews were not Jewish, and that they should spend the money they invest in Israel on building another “Western Wall” in the US.

“Today we heard that there was some kind of earthquake – maybe we should engage in some introspection that this earthquake was because someone here is trying to harm that which is holy to us,” Azoulai said.

In March, United Hatzalah boasted that Azoulai was continuing to volunteer as a first responder and had given first aid to five people injured in a traffic accident on Highway 6 near the Sorek Interchange. At the time, Hatzalah president and founder Eli Beer said he was glad that Azoulai was continuing to volunteer and that “if there is a medical emergency in the Knesset, one of our volunteers will be there in less time than it would have taken previously.”

Asked if he had changed his mind about Azoulai after the MK called upon American donors to his and other charities to stop contributing to Israel, Beer answered diplomatically.

“United Hatzalah is made up of 5,000 volunteers – Muslims, Jews, Christians, secular and religious alike – and each of our volunteers has their own personal opinions that we don’t interfere with,” Beer said. “The beautiful part about United Hatzalah is that we unite everyone under the belief that life-saving is more important than anything else. If MK Yinon Azoulai, who is a volunteer of United Hatzalah thinks the way he thinks, he is entitled to do so – and we can’t argue, as we have many volunteers who think the exact opposite.”