(photo credit: Ahikam Seri/Bloomberg)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday spoke out strongly against a letter signed by 27 rabbis' wives, which called on Jewish women not to date Arab men. He also had harsh words for a petition signed by municipal rabbis calling on Jews not to rent property to non-Jews.
RELATED:Poll: 48% of Israeli Jews oppose rabbis' edict
Both letters, Barak said, are "part of a wave of racism, which threatens to carry Israeli society away to dark and dangerous places."
"The Labor Party, under my leadership, is working on outreach between
all Israeli citizens, from all groups, in the spirit of the Declaration
of Independence," the Labor chair vowed.
The rebbetzins' letter, which was reported on Tuesday evening, states,
"There are quite a few Arab workers who give themselves Hebrew names.
Yusef turns into Yosef, Samir turns into Sami, and Awabad turns into
Ami. They ask to be close to you, try to find favor with you, and give
you all the attention in world, they are actually here knowing to act
with courtesy, acting as if they really care for you, say a good word,
but their behavior is only temporary. The moment you are in their
hands, in their village, under their control, everything changes."
The letter came weeks after a controversial petition signed by over 40
municipal rabbis called on Jews not to rent homes in Israel to gentiles,
sparking a wide-spread controversy.