Thursday, December 09, 2010

House for Sale – Arabs and Christians Not Welcome

Just a short note about a very sad political move disguised as Halacha. It is the kind of thing that really upsets me. It is also one of the things that makes mixing politics and religion in Israel so dangerous.

According to Ynet - there is a document floating around Israel that has the signatures of 50 municipal rabbis – apparently both religious Zionist and Charedi. It forbids selling or even renting land in Israel to non Jews. What makes this even more egregious is the sanction of a quasi-Cherem suggested for those who do sell land to a non Jew! And yet many of these very same rabbis think nothing about using the Heter Mechira - selling land to a non Jew during Shmitah.

I question the real motives of these rabbis. Are they really thinking about Halacha? Or are they thinking about politics? I personally think they are using the former to accomplish the latter. A very dangerous game in my mind.

I can just imagine what would happen under these circumstances if one of the masses of Russian immigrants who have had their conversions voided by the Rabbanut seeks to buy land.

These are immigrants who were raised as Jews; many of them have Jewish fathers and mothers who either did not covert or had questionable conversions. They served in the army, speak the language, think of themselves as Jews and are fully integrated into society. They will be told to ‘take a hike’ – if these rabbis have their way!

If the Israeli government were to follow the directive of this document, it would make any kind of peace deal with Palestinians an impossibility. Even if such a deal was assured to bring real peace and security to its citizens. Can this be their underlying motive?

"What if there was a similar call in Berlin against renting properties to Jews?" I really think some rabbis ought to have their pens taken away from them! And I’m not the only one who thinks that. Greater people than me - and those rabbis - have said exactly that.