Yad Vashem speaks out against rabbinic prohibition

Holocaust museum calls statement against selling, renting homes to gentiles "a severe blow to the values of our lives as Jews."

By JONAH MANDEL
December 9, 2010 15:36
1 minute read.
Display at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. ‘Eastern Europ

yad vashem 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The Holocaust Remembrance and Education Center Yad Vashem on Thursday spoke out against the recent rabbinic letters against letting non-Jews live in Jewish areas in Israel.

“Yad Vashem perceives the rabbis' statement regarding the prohibition to sell and rent homes to gentiles as a severe blow to the fundamental values of our lives as Jews and humans in a democratic state,” a statement on Thursday read.

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“Past experience has taught us how important, and at the same time fragile, the basic values of mutual existence and respect for others is,” it continued.

“We know that the Jewish people, which experienced suffering and persecutions, as well as excommunication and revocation of fundamental rights, expressed its stance on these issues in other tones than those heard today in the statement.”

Forty-seven state-employed rabbis signed a statement, made public Tuesday, which quotes the halachic stance against renting or selling a house or plot of land to a non- Jew in Israel.

“In response to many people’s questions, we hereby reply that it is prohibited by the Torah to sell a house or a field in the Land of Israel to a gentile,” the letter begins before proceeding to quote Maimonides, the Shulhan Aruch and other sources. The letter notes the danger of intermarriage, the potential damage to the religious beliefs of Jewish neighbors who might be influenced by non-Jews, and the damage to the value of real estate in the area.


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