Sunday, December 12, 2010

Good News, Bad News on the Racist Rabbi Front


The good news re the call of the Racist Rabbis for Israelis to not rent or sell property to non-Jews (see my previous post on this) is that several more significant Israeli and Jewish opinion makers have come out against it. This includes the generally right wing Jerusalem Post, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, and leading "Lithuanian" Haredi Rabbis.
The bad news is that the original forty signatories have now grown to about 300. Almost all of these are of the "National Religious" or more accurately the "Chardal" (Haredi/National Religious) background.
And though some of Israel's Zionist rabbis have declined to sign, they have mostly done so while still tacitly agreeing with the gist of the call. Thus Rabbi Haim Druckman, influential head of the Bnai Akiva Yeshivas said he objects to all-inclusive statements against non-Jews. But at the same time, he expressed his identification with "the national struggle, seeking to preserve Israel as the Jewish state", and said he was aware of the struggle in Safed (where the call originated) "against the hostile elements seeking to damage its Jewish character."
And more bad news is that the state and government authorities have signaled that they are unlikely to act against these rabbis. Justice Minister Neeman has called for a larger role for religious law in the law of the state, and views this issue as within the purview of religious law. The state attorney general has merely said he would have his staff "look into it".
And since the authorities are doing nothing, and secular public opinion means nothing to them, and since the rabbis are convinced they have God on their side, their numbers continue to grow and their statements get more extreme. Yesterday, according to Ynet, the chief municipal Rabbi if Rosh Ha-ayin called for Jewish owned stores to not hire Arabs.
So we have it: a growing body of religious leaders, most on the government payroll, calling for out and out, in your face, unabashed and unashamed discrimination against non-Jews, and nobody in power doing anything about it. This is new level in the degeneration of Israeli society, and a very ominous one in my opinion. Anyone who cares about Jews, Israel, Israeli Arabs, or peace and justice in the middle east should do whatever they can to fight this trend.
You can read more about this issue at The Jerusalem Post, The Forward, and 972. It is worth reading and pondering.

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