Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told advisers that non-Orthodox Jews will disappear from the United States within two generations because of assimilation and low birthrates, Israeli media has reported.
The right-wing newspaper Makor Rishon reported Friday that Netanyahu had made those remarks and thinks Israel should prepare accordingly. Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer has also reportedly been making such predictions.
“I can confirm that this is an accurate description of his views, and I know 100% that he said it,” a source told The Jerusalem Post about Netanyahu.
According to sources who spoke to the Post’s Gil Hoffman, Netanyahu believes that because of non-Orthodox Jewry’s struggling numbers, Israel should rely on political support from two growing U.S. groups: Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians.
But another source said that Netanyahu’s views were more complicated.
“There are two schools of thought, that Israel must preserve these Jews, and that they are a lost cause, so Israel must preserve its base,” that source said. “Netanyahu might actually be in both schools.”
Israeli cabinet ministers who work on Diaspora issues told the Post that they had never heard Netanyahu make such remarks. Netanyahu’s office said in a statement: “The article is not accurate and does not reflect Prime Minister Netanyahu’s views. Prime Minister Netanyahu respects all streams of Judaism.”
Netanyahu has been harshly criticized by the Reform and Conservative movements for freezing an agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall.