After returning from a trip to the U.S., Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, one of Israel's most prominent Zionist Orthodox rabbis, said that steps should be taken to welcome non-Orthodox Diaspora Jews, as a way to fight growing assimilation and loss of Jewish identity abroad.
Cherlow wrote that Torah and Zionism no longer play the roles in the identity of Diaspora Jews that they once used to.
He said that many non-Orthodox Diaspora Jews do not want to identify with Israel "because of the occupation, the racism, the control of another people by force."
Cherlow explained that another part of the problem is that many non-Orthodox Diaspora Jews do not feel wanted in Israel.
"In Israel, the religious movements to which they belong are not recognized and also those who do not affiliate with any movement do not want to identify with a state where there is a religious monopoly," he wrote. "Their conversions are not recognized, nor are their prayers (Women of the Wall), etc.”
To be more welcoming to non-Orthodox Diaspora Jews, Cherlow recommended a reconsideration of rulings on a number of issues, such as conversion.
Cherlow suggested a re-examination of the line between Halachic rulings and state policies, which could allow the state to recognize non-Orthodox conversions.
He also said that fair budgeting for the movements should be looked at.
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Reform movement in Israel, said that Cherlow's statements represented two significant developments.
"This is the first time that Rabbi Cherlow has recognized the potential positive role that the Reform movement can play in preserving American Jewry," Kariv said. "Also, this is a significant religious Zionist figure speaking openly for the first time about recognizing [the Reform movement]."