Israeli racist rabbis not afraid of the law

Fifty rabbis demand Jews will not rent apartments to gentiles – and the law seems to defend them.

Fifty Israeli rabbis, mostly municipal chief rabbis – that is, officials drawing their salary from public funds – published this morning a psak, religious ruling, forbidding Jews to rent or sell apartments to Arabs. One of them, Ashdod’s Chief Rabbi Yossef Sheinin, openly said what I’ve been writing for years: that Jewish racism originates in Jewish law. Shlomo Aviner, one of the most prominent of the settlements’ rabbis – famous for his misogyny (he ruled that, in case of danger, a man should be saved before a woman), and for naming mass murderer Baruch Goldstein a saint (Hebrew) – said that “we shouldn’t help the Arabs strike root in Israel” and that Jews ought to be preferred in hiring apartments. Strike root: there’s no point in dwelling over the irony.

A list of cities whose rabbis supported the psak can be seen here (Hebrew) and here. In case you think your community ought to consider boycotting them, they are: Even Yehuda, Afula, Ofakim, Azur, Eilat, Ashdod, Ariel, Beit El, Givat Shmuel, Gedera, Gan Yavneh, Dimona, Hod Hasharon, Herzliya, Holon, Hazor Ha’Glilit, Yavneh, Yahud, Yokne’am, Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, Carmiel (no big surprise here), Meitar, Ma’aleh Edomim, Ma’alot, Nahariya, Nazereth Illith, Nesher, Netivot, Afula, Pardes Katz, Pardes Hanna, Kiryat Arab-Hebron, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Yam, Kiryat Motzkin, Rosh Ha’Ayin, Rishon Le’Zion, Rehovot, Ramat Ha’Sharon, and Sderot.

The call is, of course, thoroughly racist, but – just like Shmuel Eliahu of Safed, who started the trend – these rabbis are also not afraid of any official sanction. They’ll continue drawing their salary from the government, even though they signed a clear call for discrimination against a sizable part of the population. So far, no member of the reigning coalition – you know, the one which keeps whining about the “de-legitimization of Israel” – saw fit to denounce the psak. Leftist MKs called for the rabbis to be dismissed or disciplined, but the chance this will happen is close to zero. For several reasons: one, rabbis do not take an oath to upload Israel’s laws, because no Orthodox rabbi is seriously expected here to uphold the laws of a non-racist state.

Secondly, they know nothing will happen to them because Israeli penal law explicitly allows for religious incitement; the anti-racism law is so full of holes, even Meir Kahane voted for it. It says (Hebrew, 144.b.c) that “publishing a quote out of a religious book or book of prayer, or maintaining religious practice, shall not be considered a felony under section 144b, as long as it was not done out of the purpose of inciting racism”. My emphasis. In short, all the rabbis need to do in order to avoid prosecution, is claim their psak is intended for “maintaining religious practice”, and quote at length similar psaks from earlier generations on the issue (“religious books”), and righteously maintain their purpose is anything but “inciting racism”. Once they do that – and they don’t lack for practice – there would be little, if anything, they can be prosecuted for.

One point worth mentioning is that the rabbis announced that selling or renting apartments to gentiles may be pubished by Nidui. This is the Halachaic nuclear option, Judaism’s equivalent of excommunication, which is very rarely used.

Yigal Amir, for instance, who murdered Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin, did not suffer the Nidui, even though his act was the greatest act of “Hilul Hashem”, bringing ill repute on the Lord and his followers, in the history of Israel; neither did the plethora of other Jewish Orthodox terrorists. The rabbinate used to excommunicate husbands who refuse to divorce their wives; they don’t do that any longer. Only those who commit heresy against the core of Jewish law – that a Jew is supreme over the gentile – is now to be considered the equals of Spinoza and Uriel da Costa.

Im Tirzu has announced its latest provocation: it urges its activists to come to the Human Rights March on Friday in order to demand “human rights for Jews, too”. The announcement of the rabbis proves, if such proof was needed, that one needs to have the mentality of a Ku Klox Klanner in order to write such a sentence in Israel: the equivalent of someone who thinks that the vicious white majority is persecuted, and needs to defend itself against the ever-threatening black minority.

Needless to say, were 50 bishops to demand their folk refrain from renting houses to Jews – they, too, could rely on ancient precedent in “religious books” – Israel would be in an uproar, the Israeli ambassador would return to Tel Aviv, and the foreign minister would have hosted the ambassador of the offending country on a torture rack. But the Chosen People, which thinks “Eretz Yisrael” should be as Jewish as Spain of the Inquisition was Catholic, is granted more leeway.

For the time being. Until the world has had enough. There are already people who caution that the “threat of Israel’s turning itself into a nuclear-armed desperado striking at will at the oil states in the Gulf cannot, alas, be entirely dismissed”. That is, Israel would transform into a North Korea. And perhaps this is the correct model: not South Africa, to which Israel is often compared, but North Korea, where the elite is well-fed and the people eat grass, while being told they are a master=race hated and envied by the entire world. Israeli leaders have repeatedly gone on record saying Israel should act “like an insane country”. Problem is, a good act is very hard to tell apart from the real thing.