Rav Elyashiv Joins Rav Shteinman in Condemning Letter Forbidding the Rental of Homes to Arabs


rav-elyashiv2Two municipal chief rabbis decided on Thursday to remove their signatures from a religious ruling forbidding Israeli Jews from renting homes to gentiles.  Dozens of Israel’s municipal chief rabbis had signed

 on to the letter, which came just months after the chief rabbi of Tzefas initiated a call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

Rav Simcha HaCohen Kook and Rabbi Yaakov Edelstein said they decided to remove their names from the letter because they did not agree with its content.

However, their decision is probably related to a statement made by Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, who denounced the ruling earlier today. He joined Rav Aharon Leib  Shteinman (see here) in condemning the petition.

“I’ve said for some time that there are rabbis who must have their pens taken away from them,” Rav Elyashiv remarked.

“It’s interesting that these same Zionist rabbis support symbolically selling their land to gentiles during the shmita year,” he added, referring to Shemittah, when agricultural fields in Israel must lie fallow.

The attorney general’s office stated today that it would look into possible criminal aspects of a religious ruling to forbid renting homes to gentiles signed by a number of leading rabbis.

In an official response to a petition submitted by Meretz MK Ilan Ghilon against the signatories of the rabbis’ letter, an assistant of attorney general Yehuda Weinstein said that Weinstein would order the examination of possible criminal and disciplinary aspects of the rabbis’ letter.

“The attorney general thinks that it appears that the statements attributed to the rabbis are problematic in several aspects… and are inappropriate for public officials,” the statement said.

The attorney general office’s statement was the first official response by Israel’s legal establishment to petitions calling for legal action against the signatories of the rabbis’ letter.

Earlier on Thursday, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial decried the rabbis’ letter, deeming it a “severe blow to the values of our lives as Jews and human beings in a democratic state.”

“Past experiments have taught us just how important, and at the same time how fragile, these basic values are to coexistence and honoring the other,” the memorial said in response to the ruling.

“We know that the Jewish people, that knew suffering and persecution and experience ostracism and the revocation of basic rights, has expressed its stance on matters such as these with voices different than those we have heard today with this [ruling]”.



  1. The hypocrisy of the State of Israel is astounding. Giving to hostile Arabs large tracks of Eretz Israel FOR FREE, and in the process uprooting 10,000 Yiden, that’s gantz all right. Think of Hevron and Gaza for instance. If someone is against renting an apartment to Arabs, they want to take him to court.