Rabbi showdown: Nearly 1,000 condemn ruling about leasing land to non-Jews

By Michelle Boorstein Nearly 1,000 mostly American rabbis have signed a petition condemning a recent ruling by a group of … Continued

By Michelle Boorstein

Nearly 1,000 mostly American rabbis have signed a petition condemning a recent ruling by a group of Israeli rabbis barring Jews from leasing or selling Israeli property to non-Jews.

The ruling last week by the rabbis – many of whom apparently are publicly-employed “community” rabbis – has triggered an outpouring of criticism, including from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, renowned Israeli Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem and many Israeli rabbis who said it encourages anti-Semitism and violates Jewish values. The Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein launched a probe into whether the ruling is criminal.

An unofficial translation of the ruling cites an Old Testament passage (Deuteronomy 7:2) which talks about making “treaties” with other peoples. The translation warns that it can lead to intermarriage and other problems “because their lifestyle is different from that of the Jews.”

The ruling initially came from about three dozen municipal rabbis, but about 300 other Israeli rabbis also signed it, according to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Many are part of the Orthodox community and the ruling was widely seen as being aimed at Arabs. Some signers said they were trying to protect Jews and the Jewish character of Israel.

A top ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Israeli Yosef Shalom Elyashiv said those who supported the ruling should “have their pens taken away,” the Associated Press reported.

The petition launched by the New Israel Fund, a group that advocates for pluralism in Israel, said the ruling “has caused great shock and pain,” and is a “desecration of God’s name.”

This whole debate illuminates both religious and political tensions among Jews worldwide. It reflects disputes both over how to read the Torah but also how to best nurture a “Jewish” spirit in Israel as the Israeli-Palestinian rages on.

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  • FarnazMansouri2

    Remeniscent of European laws preventing the Christians from selling or leasing land to Jews, laws existing up through the beginning of the twentieth century. These laws still exist in the Middle East. This is ironic since our land was stolen, along with our lives in many cases, and three million of us are living in exile.Sorry. Israel is under siege, MIchelle. The MIddle East (in which Israel is located) is not midtown Manhattan.Now, India’s Dalit, have not slaughtered the Touchables, shot little girls in the forehead at point blank range, lured children into caves, murdered them, and spread their remains on the walls. The Dalit have not blown up eleven busloads of school children, etc.There are three hundred million Dalit, Michelle. Some of us have been struggling on their behalf for a long time. They are also brown darkies, like brown Jewish darky me, making them excellent material for exploitive “journalists” like you, Michelle. If you could get them to convert to Judaism, you’d be a pig in s*. Right now, the Christians and Catholics are converting them day and night. (The Hindus don’t like it.) J’s don’t like J’s converting, I know, but anything for livingroom liberalism, no, Michelle?

  • watchmaker

    No one in the Middle East is ever going to agree with each other. Ever. No one in the Middle east will rest until their enemies are driven out or exterminated. When you pare away the childish babble surrounding the issues, that is the bare truth: When all Jews are dead the Arabs will celebrate. When all the Arabs are dead the Jews will celebrate.There will be no civilized discussion until the desert is fused into glass by megatonnage of hydrogen bombs. Too bad that no one in the Middle East will survive.And then finally there will be silence.Finally the constant childish bickering over a sandbox that nobody wanted in the first place will end. “I was here first”. “No, I was here first.” “Nyaa-nyaa-nyaa.” “Yo Mama”. “Cross this line and say that. “No, YOU cross this line and say that!”A possible, but highly improbable, alternative is to start acting like adults. Unfortunately it is centuries too late for that.Sheesh, I’m ashamed to be on the same planet as these people.

  • Secular


    For someone who posted the above, Professor of Al Chemistry & Fertile Imagination (PACFI) and then to post this

    you really need to get hold of yourself. You are not playing with all the marbles between your ears. Bellevue folks are waiting for you with a bated breath, to lend you the missing marbles. With any luck you can be back before the spring semester begins. You can rest teher during X’mas, you won’t have to put up with all the merrymaking the folks in New York will be doing celebrating their Savior’s Birthday. I know it is so aggravating seeing all those people so happy. I empathize with your predicament. Tell you what PACFI, you are such a beloved blogger here I am sure no one will rat on you. Also you can register under Mansouri (first name) Faranaz (last name) and nody will be the wiser. So take my advise PACFI go to that famous New York institution (pun intended).

  • Bluefish2012

    Just got back from Israel a few weeks ago. It burned me up to no end whenever our bus, filled with Americans and a Palestinian Christian guide, a man well-known to the Israelis, returned from Bethlehem and were boarded by armed Israeli soldiers for whom we were instructed to show our passports. Their message was clear: we will punish ANYONE who takes sides with the Palestinians.That they should treat Americans this way who have given them over $100 billion in aid since 1949 and are obliged to give them still more over the next few years is deplorable.Time to do some harder negotiating with the Israelis–they respect no one but themselves. They deserve our help, but they have gone way, way too far.

  • asizk

    Mind-boggling:Why all the the manufactured fuss and noise about the refusal by occupying jews to rent or sell the very occupied or otherwise stolen Palestinian property to its rightful owners-continuely stolen since 1947/8 when armed illegal jewish invaders and settlers with British support ethnically cleansed over 70% of the indienous Palestinian People and took their land and homes? Where were all those 1000 rabbis in 1947/8 and 1967 when invading jews occupied all of Arab historic Palestine? Where are the 1000 Rabbis now when alien jewish settler steal Palestinian land in Jerusalem and the west bank and starve 1.5 millionn Palestinain refugees besiged in Gaza?Why have those 1000 rabbis been so mute for past 63 years of jewish occupation of the Palestinain ancestral homeland??The world was silent for occupying all of Arab historic Palestine for 63 years-and suddenly it is awke and protesting jewish refusal to rent stolen PAlestinain property to them-their rightful owners?What grand hypocrisy? This very Palestinian land and towns and cities

  • JDYoung

    Has it been that long since the pogroms, the ghettos, the holocaust? My how quickly some forget and go from being discriminated against to being the bigots. My heart bleeds for the people of Israel and for Judaism.

  • beatle-maniac1

    Because Jews were evicted and exiled from just about every country they’ve been in over the past 2,000 years, it is only fair that Jews are not required to rent to non-Jews in Israel. Six million Jews who had nowhere to go perished in the Holocaust, and now Jews are told they have to rent to non-Jews in Israel? I suppose it’s how the world works nowadays. All over the United States, already-overcrowded homeless shelters are admitting illegal aliens, thus taking the few available spots that homeless Americans need. Eventually, they’ll admit ONLY illegal aliens and all the homeless Americans will die of hypothermia on the street. This is how callous the world is becoming.My sympathy goes to the Jews in Israel who are being forced to discriminate against their fellow Jews, as well as the Jewish immigrants and refugees who will soon be pouring into Israel. Anti-Semitism is still alive and well.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Michelle,I was wondering. Is the penalty for a Palestinian Muslim selling land to a Jew still DEATH?Let us know…..

  • areyousaying

    Well pounce on me and call me an anti-Semitic.Could it be really true that Jews get no hall pass when it comes to their common Abrahamic denominator of being intolerant and racist?

  • alientech

    Yet another example of religion making people stupid. Their ‘holy book’ tells them to hate others so they will. The god of Abraham is Satan himself.

  • alfa67

    This is just typical of Israeli racism and apartied. When will Americans ever get sick of sponsoring this sort of behavior with our tax money?

  • Meridian1

    The real story here is that the majority of Jews, including the rabbinate and the prime minister of Israel, have repudiated the intolerant rabbis’ ruling.This, despite the genuine security and demographic threats that Israel faces from the Arabs. In fact, compared with here in the US, where people went berserk just over the construction of mosques, Israel’s treatment of its Muslim population — including respect for their places of worship — compares favorably. To say nothing of how well it compares with places like Iran and Saudi Arabia.Try to name another country in the Middle East where a minority group under similar circumstances would receive that kind of favorable treatment from the authorities. You can’t.

  • areyousaying

    Careful Secular,

  • Kingofkings1

    A truly evil ruling such as this where you can discriminate and persecute with not only the state’s backing – but coming from those whose profession is supposed to lead them closer to God, compared to the general populace – can only come from a state that is evil to its core.PS: WP engages in censorship

  • Secular

    Careful Secular,
    Farnaz has friends in the FBI now and she thinks all males, Muslims, white Northern Europeans and Christians should be trembling in fear of her wrath.

    I heard. But she thinks I am with the bad a$$ “Indian RAW”, so I think I am safe. She has been a big pain in the a$$. She keeps on piling crap on me. Accusing me of anti-semetic, Islamaphobe, and every evil & banal thing she can think of. Now of late she starts being puerile and scatological in her comments. I tried to reason with er to no avail, in fact she keeps piling crap. As far as she is concerned everything Jewish without flaw. When you any stupidity in her scripture, she has some innocuous commentary written by someone a thousand years after the fact, rationalizing it. I told her that I don’t need to read some commentary to understand the scripture, especially the rationalizing commentaries. How these johnny come latelies get to make these rationalizations from couple of verses in the dumb scriptures, is beyond me. That;s what I told her. That I think pissed her of for good. So be it.Another thing that grates me about that woman, is she thinks far too much of herself to write whatever she wishes whether it is relevant to the topic on hand or not. Case in point writing about Dalits on this thread.I am tired of being a gentleman with her and decided I will dish it back. I will not stoop to her level though.

  • FredEvil

    “The translation warns that it can lead to intermarriage and other problems “(sigh) Good times!

  • Martial

    The involvment of the US with Israel has to stop. Israel will continue to use up every bid of US money, lives and goodwill forever.Part ways with these so called “friends” let’s break ties and only reestablish them when israel decides to join the world community on the world’s terms.POSTED BY: JOHNADAMS1 | DECEMBER 16, 2010 4:07 AM ____________Your wish to line the world’s Jews up against walls and put bullets in their brains does not eo ipso render your bellicose rhetoric valid. Prove from the hundreds of thousands of Wikileak documents the existence of Jewish or Isreali control of the US government. Otherwise, you prove yourself a pernicious, bigoted rube.

  • haveaheart

    “…and now Jews are told they have to rent to non-Jews in Israel?”Beatle-Maniac1,You seem to be a little confused about the ruling. No one is being forced to rent to non-Jews; on the contrary, the ruling bars Jewish landowners from renting or selling to non-Jews.

  • Forward11

    The rabbis, in my opinion, are correct. Israel is holy unto the Lord. As a Gentile Christian,and a Bible-believer, I must accept all the Bible teaches, not just what’s convenient. I belive much of Israel’s history is yet to be written–dominically. I don’t want to interferre with that. In fact, I wish more Jews were faithful to Judaism–just as it wouldn’t hurt if more of us Christians were faithful to the Gospel.

  • smt123

    Newsflash: the overarching story of the Hebrew Bible is about how the Jews are superior to everyone. Chosen People anyone? As soon as you base a country’s existence and laws on a premise like this you will always run into problems regarding plurality.