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Fire the Rabbis

Bibi and Peres denounced Israel’s racist rabbis. They can do better.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu.(Guy Assayag - Pool/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, scores of Israel’s chief municipal rabbis signed on to a religious ruling forbidding homeowners to rent their property to non-Jews. “Their way of life is different than that of Jews,” read the ruling. “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.” Any Jew who sells or rents his property to an Arab, the ruling concluded, should be ostracized by his neighbors and denied the right to read from the Torah.

To their credit, most of Israel’s leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, fiercely denounced the rabbis and stated that the ruling stands in opposition to Judaism’s values and teachings. But words aren’t enough: To clearly send a message that racism will not be tolerated, the government must act swiftly to remove these noxious men from their posts.

According to the law governing religious services, a chief municipal rabbi, being a public servant funded by taxpayers’ money, is prohibited from behaving “in a way unbecoming of the stature of a rabbi in Israel.” As Haaretz noted in its editorial this morning, racist and populist rulings that rely on feeble-minded and simplistic interpretations of the Halacha very much fall into the unbecoming category.

Theoretically, the rabbis in question are accountable to their respective municipalities. If, however, the attorney general decides that a municipal rabbi has acted inappropriately, he can instruct Israel’s two chief rabbis to discipline the errant clergyman. If Netanyahu is sincere in his condemnations, he should instruct his attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, to take immediate actions against the rabbis and make sure they no longer enjoy the prestige and the public funding that comes with their posts. Anything short of such direct action is shameful.


Racism at the Expense of Israeli Citizens
[Haaretz]
Israel’s Legal Establishment Silent Amid Uproar Over ‘Racist’ Rabbis [Haaretz]

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Lisa Kaiser says:

The rabbis who made and signed on the ruling a re disgrace tot heir calling. They should definitely not receive any public funding from the Israeli government

victoria washington says:

Opining as a Jew of Color, from a moral, ethical, historical, and religious standpoint I vehemently disagree with the Rabbis. But I do have a question for a reader who may agree with the Rabbis: how is the ruling and letter compatible with Jewish values and the Torah? Additionally, how is the ruling and letter compatible with Exodus 23:9?

I sincerely want to know, free from rhetoric, from an educational standpoint how supporters justify the ruling.

I also think they should be fired, and I also expect those who condemn these rabbis to condemn those Arabs who aren’t willing to sell property to Jews, or those countries such as Jordan who ban altogether the purchase of property by Jews or the Palestinian authority which condemns people to death for selling to Jews

One point before I answer. There are also rabbis that oppose this letter. As far as the letter is concerned unfortunately terrorism is a very really danger that attacks Israel at every turn. These security concerns are also address in this letter. I don’t agree with any racial tone in this ban but I can’t say a word against someone’s fear of real present danger. G-d willing there will be a better way.

Jerome says:

Permit me to quote from Dune: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.”

The threat faced by Israel is different from the fear expressed by the rabbis in their missive. Fear distorts their critical faculties and corrupts their conduct.

Dan Klein says:

Jerome wins.

Like some others in this exchange, I’ve been asking myself if this Rabbis’ Edict of 50 really represents Jewish Law and tradition. I know it runs against my own western sensibilities and is not the Zionism I grew up with and maintain. I’m not a scholar, but there is an entire Talmudic thread that is diametrically opposed to this racist line of thinking. Some of it can be read and commented upon at the NewJewView web site. If the Jewish people can’t produce a forward looking vision for the future, what of value are we offering to our children, much less to the world?

There are Talmudic quotes and comments relevant to this discussion here:
http://newjewview.com/home/projects-at-a-glance/strangers-in-our-midst/edict-of-50/
and relevant quotes from Torah and the prophets here:
http://newjewview.com/home/projects-at-a-glance/strangers-in-our-midst/tanach-source-texts/

The site also discusses a number of other issues critical to developing a a law-and-tradition-based Jewish vision for the modern world.

Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

Margaret Wolfe Hungerford~ Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I’ve said that least 2405548 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

Not long ago i found your internet site and have been reading along. I figured I would leave my 1st comment. Nice blog. I am going to keep visiting this site very frequently. Thanks

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Fire the Rabbis

Bibi and Peres denounced Israel’s racist rabbis. They can do better.

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