Rav Yoshiyahu Pinto has condemned the letter prohibiting Jews to rent or sell property to Arabs, signed by 50 municipal rabbis. “This letter has put the lives of Jews abroad in danger,” he said on Thursday. “It comes from stupidity.”The letter has been criticized by leading gedolim, including Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman and Chacham Ovadiah Yosef.
Rav Pinto, well-known for providing spiritual guidance to celebrities and businessmen in Israel and the United States, made the statement during a visit to Israel following a recent operation. Participating in a welcoming party in his honor last week were Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz,Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Religious Services Minister Yaakov Marg, National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, three Kadima MKs and Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush. Also present were the head of logistics in the IDF, Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir, police officers, businessmen Ilan Ben-Dov and Jacky Be- Zaken, and journalist Shalom Yerushalmi.
Rav Pinto’s father, Rav Chaim Pinto, the rabbi of Ashdod, signed the letter but withdrew his signature shortly after its publication, saying he had signed it by mistake and was not aware of its true content.
Rav Yoshiyahu Pinto told his followers on Thursday that since the letter was released, “New York Jews come to me frightened, saying the newspapers are full of stories on what is going on in Israel. This letter is founded in stupidity. There’s great racism against Jews in America today. What does this letter mean? It means that Jews won’t be able to live in New York or anywhere else in the world.”
Rav Pinto did not comment on the moral or religious aspects of the letter, saying only that “there are many who think we are at the beginning of salvation, but salvation still has not come.”