Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar has called Reform Judaism a greater danger than secularism.
In an interview published in the Orthodox newspaper Makor Rishon over the weekend, Amar stressed that Reform Judaism was fundamentally flawed, saying that if a Jew happened to be alone on Rosh Hashanah, "it is better for him to pray in his hotel and not go near them [Reform Jews]. Morever, it is better that he not pray at all than pray with them."
The chief rabbi called Reform marriages null and void according to Jewish law. "These 'rabbis' marry mixed-religion couples alongside a priest. In some places they made the day of rest Sunday and not Saturday, and violate the Sabbath.”
Amar said the religious community needed to reach out to secular Israelis in schools, because, if they did not do so, the Reform movement would find them.
"If we are not there, then Reform Jews will fill the vacuum; God forbid this happens," he said.
Rabbi Uri Regev, a leader in the Reform Jewish community and CEO of the non-profit Hiddush – For Freedom of Religion and Equality organization, issued a response to Amar's article.
"It is sad that Rabbi Amar chooses the holiest time of the Jewish year, which should celebrate Jewish unity, to pursue his sectarian fundamentalist views,” he said.
"Rabbi Amar's misguided insights generate a schism, and, worse yet, as long as he occupies the seat of chief rabbi he is driving a wedge between Israel and the rest of the Jewish people. Rather than seek fault with fellow Jews, he would better delve into his own soul and realize that most Israeli and world Jews want to align Judaism with modernity and democracy. It is pluralism and diversity which Israel and Judaism need today, not religious coercion and sectarianism. What Israel needs most today is the full realization of its own founding promise for religious freedom and equality for all."