[Marxism] Racist rabbis

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 7 09:41:22 MST 2010


Top rabbis move to forbid renting homes to Arabs, say 'Israel 
belongs to Jews'

Dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis signed on to the ruling, 
which comes just months after the chief rabbi of Safed initiated a 
call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to 

By Chaim Levinson

A numbr of leading rabbis who signed on to a religious ruling to 
forbid renting homes to gentiles – a move particularly aimed 
against Arabs – defended their decision on Tuesday with the 
declaration that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.

Dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis signed on to the ruling, 
which comes just months after the chief rabbi of Safed initiated a 
call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to 

Signatories include the chief rabbis of Ramat Hasharon, Ashdod, 
Kiryat Gat, Rishon Letzion, Carmiel, Gadera, Afula, Nahariya, 
Herzliya, Nahariya and Pardes Hannah, among a number of other cities.

"We don't need to help Arabs set down roots in Israel," Rabbi 
Shlomo Aviner of the Beit El settlement, said on Tuesday. Aviner 
explained that he supported the move for two reasons: one, a Jew 
looking for an apartment should get preference over a gentile; and 
two, to keep the growing Arab population from settling too deeply.

"Racism originated in the Torah," said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who 
heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. "The land of Israel is designated for 
the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He 
intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted."

He added that he did not see the move as racist so much as 
segregationist. "The world is so big and the State of Israel is 
small, that God intended it for the people of Israel and the whole 
world covets it. That is the injustice."

Upon news of the religious ruling, Meretz faction whip Ilan Ghilon 
immediately asked the attorney general to dismiss each of the 
rabbis who had signed their names.

"We are witnessing an epidemic of racism and xenophobia and we 
must act firmly," he said.

Deputy Knesset chairman MK Ahmed Tibi decried the letter as a 
"mass crime [committed] by a group of racist rabbis who should be 
given intensive course in Jewish history."

The entire group should be tried for "incitement to racism," added 
Tibi, "Muslim clerics have recently been tried or fired from their 
jobs for much less but the rabbis are able to pursue their unruly 
behavior without concern.

Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav termed the ruling the "real desecration of 
God's name. It is bringing hatred against those with whom we have 
chosen to live our lives."

Nazareth Mayor Ramiz Jaraisy also decried the moving, declaring 
that "whoever thinks it damages one side is mistaken. We are all 
children of the land. Both nations must search for common ground 
and not bring about escalation."

In their ruling, the rabbis called on the religious community to 
voice support Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who could face 
trial for incitement against Arabs for initiating the move against 
renting to gentiles.

Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman has also asked Justice 
Minister Yaakov Neeman to begin the process of suspending Eliyahu 
immediately from his post as municipal rabbi.

Politicos from the national religious sector believe that the mass 
of prominent figures who signed on to the ruling – all of whose 
salaries are paid by public funds - will send a message to the 
attorney general to take Eliyahu's position seriously.

The rabbis' letter prompted by Eliyahu, which was first published 
months ago and reprinted in October, urges Jewish owners of 
apartments to reconsider renting their properties to Arabs since 
it would deflate the value of their homes as well as those in the 

"Their way of life is different than that of Jews," the letter 
stated. "Among [the gentiles] are those who are bitter and hateful 
toward us and who meddle into our lives to the point where they 
are a danger."

The rabbis also urge neighbors of anyone renting or selling 
property to Arabs to caution that person. After delivering the 
warning, the neighbor is then encouraged to issue notices to the 
general public and inform the community.

"The neighbors and acquaintances [of a Jew who sells or rents to 
an Arab] must distance themselves from the Jew, refrain from doing 
business with him, deny him the right to read from the Torah, and 
similarly [ostracize] him until he goes back on this harmful 
deed," the letter reads.

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