Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
MK Gilad Kariv (Labor) is removed from a Constitution Committee meeting, March 27, 2023.

Labor MK Gilad Kariv, 51, is a leader of the minuscule Reform movement in Israel (the movement’s own documents claim 5,000 families and individuals in 50 synagogues). There’s no doubt that being represented by its own Knesset member was a huge boost to the Israeli Reform movement which is still struggling for legitimacy.

MK Kariv made headlines almost every day as Constitution Committee Chairman Simcha Rothman’s arch-nemesis during the rowdy debates of judicial reform (remember those?). But since October 7 Kariv has taken a vow of silence – or so it appeared. Turns out he was mighty active.


On Monday, when Kariv interrupted his speech, Likud MK David Amsalem shot back from the podium: “The leaker who damaged the security of the State of Israel.” Amsalem was referencing Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana’s request back in February that the Attorney General investigate Kariv for suspicion of leaking classified material.

According to Speaker Ohana, Kariv attended a closed session of the Knesset Foreign and Defense Committee on June 13, 2023, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reviewed security issues. MKs were asked not to bring their phones into the meeting, and not disclose the PM’s report. But in December, Netanyahu’s report was cited in a newspaper article.

An internal Knesset investigation revealed that Kariv was the only one present at the meeting who requested to review its protocol. But when he returned it, the protocol was marked in the spots that were later quoted in the article.


This week, Channel 14 reported that Kariv has been engaged in an effort to vilify the Hesder yeshivas, whose students are shedding their blood every day in Gaza and along the northern border. In a video conversation with American Jewish progressives, Kariv called for a boycott of Israel’s national religious sector, and singled out the Eli yeshiva, which lost 19 of its alumni in Gaza, as an “existential threat:

MK Simcha Rothman tweeted: “The Eli pre-military yeshiva sent her best sons to defend the State of Israel, including Gilad Kariv, against the vile Hamas murderers. Many of its graduates did not return and fell in action. How sad that during the very days of fighting, a member of the Israeli Knesset eagerly slanders, divides, and incites against them, and calls on the Diaspora Jews to boycott them and their representatives. The people of Israel seek unity. Gilad, come back. The product of hate has no buyers.”

On Tuesday morning, Kariv issued a response, saying, “So, let’s sort it out. In a long conversation with liberal activists of the UnXeptable movement in the US, we talked about our sharp disagreement with the extreme right. What didn’t I say? Contrary to the published publication, I did not call for a boycott of the Eli preparatory school. As someone who ran the pre-military preparatory schools of the Reform movement, I sat on the preparatory council together with the representatives of the Torah preparatory schools including the Eli Yeshiva’s preparatory school. And I did not say anywhere that the Eli school is an ‘existential threat.’”

It’s true. If you go to 0:14 in the video above, Kariv only says the entire national religious sector is an existential threat that must be delegitimized in the US, not only this one pesky yeshiva.

There have been suggestions on the Israeli right that Kariv himself should be boycotted. So far, the AG is not showing signs of investigating his breach of national security, and she probably won’t in the foreseeable future. But, no doubt, MK Gilad Kariv has managed in a very short time to degrade his public reputation from a responsible politician looking for dialogue with other voices in Israeli society, down to a hack anxious about his Labor party’s chances to surpass the threshold vote in the next elections.


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