Yesh Atid no.2 in 2002: Don't sell houses to Arabs
Possible Yesh Atid candidate for education minister says advice was halachic answer, and it doesn't represent his views.
By JEREMY SHARON
Army Radio reported Tuesday that MK Rabbi Shai Piron of Yesh Atid issued an opinion on Jewish law 10 years ago in which he said it was forbidden to sell property to Arabs.Piron, a national-religious rabbi, is considered to be a modern and liberal figure within the Orthodox world and is Yesh Atid’s candidate for education minister.The new MK gave his ruling on the national-religious news website and forum Kipa in 2002, in response to a question posed about property in Haifa.“One should not sell a house to an Arab, principally because of the principle of ‘do not be gracious,’ and to sell to Arabs, especially in light of the struggle which is being waged at the moment, it is certainly forbidden,” Piron wrote.At the time, the second intifada was raging, with dozens of suicide bombings staged that year.In response to the story, Piron’s office issued a statement saying that “he does not stand by the halachic ruling” and that he has worked in recent years to build bridges between Arabs and Jews.Piron also pointed out that the Kipa forum was on adherence to Jewish law and the ruling he gave at the time did not reflect his personal opinion on the issue.AdvertisementWriting on his Facebook page, Piron also pointed out that he had opposed what was dubbed the “rabbis’s letter,” a missive published two years ago and signed by 50 rabbis which ruled that according to Jewish law it was forbidden to rent or sell property to a non-Jew.Piron also alluded to possible political motivations behind the story, referencing the struggle currently being waged by Likud and Yesh Atid for the Education Ministry.“Does bullying promote choice?” he asked. “It hurts because this attempt is unbecoming; it hurts because everyone knows what my positions are on such issues,” he wrote.It is unclear if the revelations will affect the battle over the Education portfolio.The MK added that he would continue to work towards “improving life in Israel, to preserve the dignity of all people, to fight racism and injury to the image of God in man.”Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, a talk show host and wife of Likud MK Silvan Shalom, wrote on Twitter that it was “unacceptable that a dark racist educate my children.” She later retracted her criticism and the original tweet after Piron wrote in response that “he never said it.”The opinion Piron wrote on Kipa, however, can still be seen at the forum’s website.