Soldiers dance with Torah scrolls during the celebrations of Simhat Torah in the Eshkol region in the Negev in September 2010..
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN - REUTERS)
Jewish law bans non-Jews from living in the Land of Israel unless they adhere to the seven Noahide laws, Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said.
“According to Jewish law, it’s forbidden for a non-Jew to live in the Land of Israel – unless he has accepted the seven Noahide laws,” Yosef said in his latest weekly sermon over the weekend.
Yosef’s comments appear to have been aimed specifically at Palestinians, since he said one of the Noahide laws is not to commit suicide, a reference to suicide bombers and terrorists.
The Noahide laws, seven specific, basic laws delineated by the Talmud for non-Jews to keep, do not specifically mention suicide, but do prohibit murder.
“If the non-Jew is unwilling to accept these laws, then we can send him to Saudi Arabia,” the rabbi said. “When there will be full, true redemption, we will do this.”
Yosef said explicitly that a non-Jew who does abide by the Noahide laws is permitted to live in the Land of Israel, saying that such people will be assistants and helpers for the Jewish people.
The Anti-Defamation League issued a strong denunciation of Yosef’s comments, and called on him to retract them.
”The statement of Chief Rabbi Yosef are unspeakable and expose, yet again, the chief rabbi’s ignorance and lack of tolerance to anyone who is different from him,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and national director, and Carole Nuriel, ADL Israel acting director.
“The exclusion and demeaning of a large group of people in Israel, who are not Jewish, and the call for their expulsion is unacceptable coming from anyone and particularly the chief rabbi – a spiritual leader who must set an example of morality, and who has influence on society.”
Earlier this month, Yosef was strongly criticized when he said that religious law mandates the killing of an armed terrorist who is trying to commit a violent attack, and shouldn’t be afraid of being tried in court over such an action.
The rabbi stressed, however, that a murderous attacker who no longer has a weapon should not be killed, but rather put in prison for the rest of his life.
Following his comments, several MKs and NGOs said he should leave such matters to the heads of the security services and political decision makers.
Yosef is the latest in a list of rabbis who in recent months have advocated killing terrorists while they are murdering innocent people, on the basis of a precept in Jewish law that permits killing a person seeking to kill you.
“If a terrorist is advancing with a knife, it’s a mitzva [commandment] to kill him,” said Yosef.
“One shouldn’t be afraid that someone will petition the High Court of Justice or some [army] chief of staff will come and say something different. There is no need to be afraid. ‘He who comes to kill you, get up and kill him,’” continued Yosef, citing the rabbinic dictum of self-defense.
“This also deters them. When a terrorist knows that if he comes with a knife he won’t return alive, it deters him, so therefore it’s a mitzva to kill him.”
In mentioning the chief of staff, Yosef was referring to recent comments by Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who said in February the military should not operate according to this precept, adding that “a soldier should not empty a magazine of ammunition into a girl holding scissors.”
This was a reference to a controversial incident in November when two Palestinian teenage female attackers stabbed a 70-year-old Arab man (who they thought was Jewish) in the head with scissors and wounded another in Jerusalem before security officers shot them. One of the terrorists was killed and the other critically wounded.