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Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein ordered police Tuesday to open a criminal investigation against Safed's Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu for incitement to racism.
Eliyahu was one of fifty rabbis to sign a religious ruling stipulating that Jews should not sell or rent property to non-Jews, but that document is not what concerned Weinstein.
According to the attorney-general, Eliyahu has been associated with a spate of aggressive comments against Arab citizens.
Those comments include: "Once you give an Arab a place, it takes him
five minutes to start doing whatever he wants," and "Arabs act under
different codes of conduct, and the norm of violence has become their
ideology. For the Arabs, agricultural theft is ideology. For the Arabs,
extorting protection money from Negev farmers is ideology," according to
The rabbi also reportedly called on Jews to actively expel Arabs from within their neighborhoods.
While these comments potentially constitute incitement to racism,
Weinstein said he would have difficulty proving in an investigation the
same for the religious edict that forbid selling or renting property to
Despite received a number of emails protesting the ruling Eliyahu signed, unless there is a specific call to violence, it is better not to open a criminal investigation on a religious edict, Weinstein said.