Coalition Chairman Knesset Member Zeev Elkin (Likud) harshly criticized Raanana's Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz for linking between the Ushrenko family murder and the immigration of non-Jews.
"I regret Rabbi Peretz's remarks," said Elkin. "These are hateful statements which lead to polarization and segmentation in the Israeli society."
According to the MK, "A person representing the haredi sector, which has suffered more than once from stigmas being attached to it, should be even more careful before stigmatizing an entire public."
Anat Hoffman, head of the Reform Movement's Religious Action Center, said in response to the rabbi's remarks that "once again, as before, Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz chooses collective moments of disaster in order to expose his dark ignorance.
"This time he verbally attacks people from the Soviet Union who are entitled (to make aliyah by the power of) the law of return. It's time for Raanana's residents to come to their senses and renounce their city rabbi and his racist demagogy."
Rabbi Peretz, a former interior minister and chairman of the Shas movement, said Monday that the massacre of the six Ushrenko family members, allegedly by a man who was fired from their restaurant, was the result of Israel's willingness to allow Soviet non-Jews to immigrate to the country. The suspect, Damian Kerlik, immigrated to Israel in 2004.
"I predicted it; I said we will regret it for generations to come," Peretz said.
In an interview with the "Haredim" website, Peretz added, "We have murderers here and we have anti-Semites that persecute Jews in the State of Israel. Regrettably all we can do now is watch the grim results of the weakness that overcame Israel's leaders, ministers, and advisors."