Rabbis Issue Anti-Arab Ruling and Anti-Jewish Statements

A group of Israeli rabbis issued a religious ruling forbidding Jews to rent homes to Arabs.

Even Benjamin Netanyahu could take the high road on this one. “How would we feel if we were told not to sell an apartment to Jews?” asked Netanyahu. “We would protest, and we protest now when it is said of our neighbors.”

Bibi gets this one exactly right, of course. The rabbis, however, display themselves to be ignorant of halakha (Jewish law), willfully or otherwise, and, even worse, to be classical anti-Semites. Consider the words of Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva: “Racism originated in the Torah. 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.”

I don’t know what passage Scheinen is referring to. But I do know he is wrong about the law. Doing business, renting, to non-Jews is not prohibited. Even the question of selling land in Israel to non-Jews is off-base—those laws deal with a post-messianic Israel, where Jews have already returned.

We may recall that Orthodox Jews opposed Zionism for many years, on the basis that Judaism teaches us that Jews live in galut (exile) by God’s decree, and only the coming of the Messiah can end that exile. Religious Zionism re-wrote Jewish history to accommodate the Talmudic acrobatics they needed to perform in order to poison Jewish nationalism with religious fundamentalism. Continue reading

Carmel Blaze: How Much More Disaster Can Settlements Cause?

One thing Eli Yishai cannot be said to have lied about is his dedication to the settlements. In June of 2009, he said “I promise to use my ministry, all the resources at my disposal and the ministry’s impact on local authorities for the good of expanding settlements.”

Neglecting his other responsibilities, Yishai has worked doggedly to expand settlements, to fund them and to ensure

Interior Minister Eli Yishai

they will grow throughout the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem (which, we need to remember, is part of the West Bank).

Many Israelis, of all political views, are angry at Yishai now that his negligence, which can legitimately be considered of a criminal nature, has led to Israel’s near-total helplessness in the face of what has come to be known as the Carmel Fire. Yishai’s own pathetic and insulting attempt to claim that this is anti-Mizrachi (Jews of Middle Eastern descent) racism has found him little sympathy.

There is indeed no excuse for this. Israel is a wealthy country. In 2009, the World Bank ranked Israel 25th out of 162 countries. Yet Israeli officials knew very well that their ability to cope with a major fire was virtually non-existent. Instead, Israel turned to the rest of the world for help.

Despite the constant Israeli harping about the whole world hating them, being out to get them, being anti-Semitic, the help flooded in. Long before help came from the United States, lo and behold, there were the Turks, the Egyptians and even the Palestinians, pitching in to help. European countries, like Spain, Italy and the UK, those awful de-legitimizers, also pitched in. As Norway’s ambassador to Israel pointed out, the only thing anyone is trying to delegitimize is the occupation and its accompanying settlement program. Continue reading