Group of rabbis claims, "Renting to Arabs is against the commandment to love thy (Jewish) neighbor."
By MATTHEW WAGNERPublished: SEPTEMBER 2, 2009 00:17Advertisement
A Jew who sells land to an Arab in Israel should not be allowed to lead prayers in synagogue, should not be given the right to make a blessing during the Torah reading, should not be counted among the quorum needed for public prayers and is considered an abettor to the enemies of Israel, according to a halachic decision issued on Monday night by a group of rabbis calling themselves "The New Sanhedrin."
Prof. Hillel Weiss, a spokesman for the Sanhedrin, said that while the seller of land to Arabs is helping the Jewish people's enemies, this does not mean that he or she is guilty of a sin that entails the death penalty.
Rabbis who participated in a meeting that took place in the capital's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood on Monday evening included Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi Ya'acov Yosef, son of Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and former United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Menachem Porush, 93.
In their decision, the Sanhedrin explained the historical background. "In recent years a phenomenon has arisen in which Arabs are buying houses and land in Jewish neighborhoods and in this way are gradually buying up these neighborhoods."
Sources connected with the Sanhedrin said that the halachic decision was a response to sales of land and apartments in French Hill, Pisgat Ze'ev and other Jerusalem neighborhoods to Arabs.
The security barrier which is being completed in Jerusalem and which separates Palestinian and Jewish areas might be part of the reason for the rise in demand by Arabs for homes in Jewish neighborhoods. Many Arabs do not want to be stuck on the wrong side of the barrier.
Eliyahu, who said that he did not sign the halachic decision, explained that the phenomenon of Arabs buying Jewish-owned land had grown as a result of European and Saudi funding supporting the move.
"Every community has the right to use sanctions against members who sell land to Arabs," said Eliyahu.
"The influx of Arabs to Jewish neighborhoods lowers the value of homes and introduces negative cultural influences. A Jew who facilitates this is transgressing the commandment to love one's neighbor like oneself, even if he only rents to them."
Eliyahu said that in his own city of Safed, a Jew who sold to an Arab was boycotted by the community. "He owned a grocery store and people boycotted it."
Halacha forbids the sale of land in Israel owned by Jews to non-Jews. However, there is nothing in Jewish law that prevents someone who does so from participating in prayers.
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