Gotta Love Those Israeli Rabbis
12/07/2010 - 17:50

I will never again pull an all-nighter, or even half-nighter, if I can help it!

Last night, I was up past 1 a.m. trying to finish writing an article about Israel education and advocacy in the United States. Whenever I write about Israel, my head starts spinning and my own opinions dart all over the ideological spectrum depending on what I’ve read most recently.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed with a headache that no amount of caffeine can remedy, a complete incapacity for thinking clearly about anything, and the joy of this delightful headline: “Dozens of Israeli rabbis forbid renting to gentiles.”

That was on JTA, the Jewish news service, and Haaretz, not Electronic Intifada or MondoWeiss, in case you think it’s merely some anti-Israel propaganda.

The municipal chief rabbis (their salaries are funded by Israeli taxpayers) who signed on to this religious ruling (which was slammed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and which I hope contradicts Israeli civil law) include the inspiring Rabbi Yosef Scheinen of Ashdod, who told Haaretz: “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.”

Way to go, rabbis, for your valiant efforts to alienate virtually everyone and destroy any sympathy the world had for Israel in the aftermath of its catastrophic forest fire.

I guess the conversion bill wasn’t effective enough: after all, that only alienated non-Orthodox Jews. (Hmm, I wonder if these rabbis think it is OK to rent to people who identify as Jewish yet are not Jewish according to strict Orthodox definition.)

Oh, and of course one of their other stated justifications for real estate discrimination is that it will help prevent intermarriage. Sigh.

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Even if we believe the land was given to the Jews by God, nowhere in the Torah is it written that we are not allowed to rent that land to non-Jews. The Torah teaches us to treat strangers well because we were once strangers in the land of Eqypt. The Rabbis who say not to rent to gentiles are wrong, because they are reading things into the Torah that are not there, while ignoring other things in the Torah that are there.
Racism is wrong. The Rabbis should not urge the public to be so discriminatory. There is no place for hate in Israeli Society, and Israel should be progressive not antiquated in its dealings with non-Jews. Intermarriage in no way endangers Judaism, it has been going on for decades in the USA and Judaism is strong here. Who you marry is you own business, Israel should not be legislating that. People should be allowed to marry whomever they love.
The Rabbis are right... Read your Torah and learn that the Land of Israel was given as a birthright to the Children of Israel, through Jacob the grandson of Avraham Avinu... Any Jew who denies this denies the Torah and thus denies their Jewish nature. This is not Racist because Judaism is NOT a race... I am an Orthodox Jew and I know Jews of many different races. It is sad that Jews today do not know what it means to be a Jew. It is wrong to malign the Rabbis who have studied the Halacha and debated the issues. The Am Haaretz has no business telling the Rabbis what is Jewish and what is treif.

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