The Abraham Fund Initiatives, which promotes Arab-Jewish coexistence, asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, Monday, to disqualify Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Tzfat from running for the office of Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel. In a letter to Weinstein, the executive directors of the groups cited Rabbi Eliyahu for expessing "racist positions against Arab citizens", starting with words at a Torah gathering in Ramle, more than four years ago, in which he said, "The solution to the security and economic problems of Israel is encouraging the emigration of Arab citizens to Arab countries." They said he was among dozens of municipal rabbis who initiated a letter in 2010 calling on people not to rent or sell homes to Arabs.
The organization cited a precedent in the disqualified appointment of a manager of the Israel Lands Administration. They claimed there was no room for the sentiments of Rabbi Eliyahu in an official and representative position such as chief rabbi, especially in light of what they referred to as a rising rate of racist crime against Arab citizens.