Hareidi and national-religious rabbis will meet Monday in Jerusalem to discuss ways of dealing with the Arab influx into Jewish neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem, as well as the purchasing of agricultural land in the Galilee by wealthy foreign Arabs.
The rabbis are expected to call for an end to the phenomenon of sale of land and houses by Jews to Arabs. The organizer, Aryeh King, who heads the Israel Lands Fund, told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew service that he is hoping to see the rabbis issue a pronouncement that sale of land and houses to Arabs is forbidden.
The need for the conference arose, King said, after he began receiving numerous complaints from residents of northern Jerusalem neighborhoods who told of religious Jews who sold their homes to Arabs. King hopes that the rabbinical statement which will be issued Monday will be signed by prominent rabbis like Shmuel Eliyahu of Tzfat, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef and Rabbi Menachem Porush, and that these will be joined by the rabbis of French Hill and Pisgat Ze'ev. Such a statement will have a meaningful impact on the religious public.
Beside the rabbis, farmers from Kfar Tavor and the Jezreel Valley in the Galilee are expected to attend.
According to King, the economic downturn is causing many Jews in the Galilee as well as in the “socially weaker” parts of Jerusalem to sell their homes to Arabs. In the Galilee, he said, the buyers are wealthy Arabs from foreign countries who purchase the land for political reasons. In Jerusalem, the buyers are Arabs with Israeli ID cards who found themselves on the eastern side of the security fence and who want to move to the western side of the fence in order to make their lives easier. “Olmert in his stupidity thought that the fence would protect us from demography but it only brought demography further inside,” King said.
While Arabs from the eastern side of Jerusalem move west, Arabs from the PA move in and buy the houses that they vacate, even though they are illegal migrants by law and have no right to do so. Lack of enforcement by Israel makes it possible.
'Let them build upwards'
King said that the solution to the problem should include improved enforcement by the authorities, besides the construction of educational facilities east of the fence for the local Arabs, so that they do not feel the need to move westward. In addition, he said, the Arabs in the eastern neighborhoods should be given the right to build multi-story buildings, which they themselves desire. In this way they will be able to purchase apartments in eastern Jerusalem at lower prices than those of the ground level houses.
King maintained that while the Arab influx into the western parts of Jerusalem has been going on for many years, it has become more marked recently. Jewish neighborhoods that refused to let in religious Jews on a massive scale in the past are now weak, he explained, and suffer most from the phenomenon.