Yad VaShem (16) - the entrance to the memorial
Image by followersoftheway via Flickr
“We worked for years to wrest the land of Israel from the Arabs, and now we’re not giving it back.”
“We hereby reply that it is prohibited by the Torah to sell a house or a field in the land of Israel to a gentile.” 

These were the direct quotes of two of the 300 signatories of a religious ruling prohibiting the rental or sale of property to non-Jews.  Other rabbis in Israel stated they signed this ruling as a matter of national security.  Rumors are that Arab governments are financing efforts to buy property, Jewish property that is, in northern Israel.

The ruling was first issued by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed, a city in northern Israel which has seen a steady increase in the number of Arab students coming to study at the local college.  The ruling cites Maimonides, and says there is a danger of intermarriage posed by selling land to non-Jews.  It also cites the sale could have an adverse effect on property values and it instructs Jews to ostracize and boycott those Jews who sell or rent land to gentiles.

This controversial ruling has rankled Israelis and has been denounced by two of the country’s chief rabbis,  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Also opposing this “purification of the race ruling” is the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial calling the ruling “a severe blow to the values of our lives as Jews.”

I find it scary that the rise of nationalist and religious parties dominated by ultra-orthodox sects, who have no exposure to the secular world, will lead Israel towards a future that is more similar to that which many escaped from Germany.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal

Posted by nycnyc at 6:14 PM