December 7, 2010
Binyamin Netanyahu has had harsh word for the 50 state-employed city rabbis who signed an halachic fatwa forbidding Jews to sell or rent properties to non-Jews. It's all here
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized on Tuesday the call by dozens of rabbis not to sell or rent apartments to Arabs.
Speaking at the opening of the National Bible Contest for Adults in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said "How would we feel if someone overseas said that it is forbidden to sell apartments to Jews? Such things should not be said, not by Jews and not by Arabs. Such things should not be said in a democratic country, especially not in a Jewish and democratic one."
The prime minister's comments come after over 40 municipal rabbis signed a petition on Tuesday quoting Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, that Jews should not rent homes in Israel to gentiles.
Apparently he also quoted Rabbi Akiva and Devarim (Deuteronomy), just in case the rabbis didn't understand "Jewish" or "democratic".
What the rabbis had said was if a Jew sold or rented property to a gentile, his neighbors must warn him, and if he does not change his ways, the neighbors must avoid the person, and may not conduct business with him, according to the petition. A person who rents or sells to non-Jews also may not get aliyahs in synagogue.
Amongst the municipal rabbis who signed the petition are Rabbi Yaakov Edelstein of Ramat HaSharon, Rabbi Haim Pinto of Ashdod, Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, Rabbi David Abuhazeira of Yavne, Rabbi David Bar-Chen of Sderot, and others.
In addition, one of the best-known National-Religious rabbis, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, signed the letter, as did Yosef's son, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef. Haredi leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal of Jerusalem's Old City also signed the letter.
They are a disgrace to Israel and Judaism. They must be sacked.