MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), head of the National Union party, has come out with a strong statement of support for the beleaguered but popular Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, Shmuel Eliyahu.
Tzfat, one of the holiest cities in Israel and the historic hometown of the Kabbalah, has become a popular target for Arabs wishing to buy or rent apartments – and is in danger of becoming a bona-fide mixed Jewish-Arab city. Rabbi Eliyahu ruled recently that it is forbidden to sell or rent an apartment to Arabs.
In response, a group of academics and youth wrote a letter of protest to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. They said that Rabbi Eliyahu should be fired, as should “other rabbis on the public payroll who take racist positions.”
MK Katz issued this statement: “Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who faithfully continues the path of his late saintly father Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, is both a gentle soul and a great warrior for Torah. He is a man of truth who is fighting for the Jewish character of the State of Israel and the future of the Jewish presence in the Galilee.”
Ketzaleh warns those who mock Rabbi Eliyahu, “Don’t touch this righteous person, who is a true leader and beloved by all.”
Addressing the rabbi himself, Katz says, “Continue to lead us, together with the other Torah giants, along the path of Jewish courage together with your trademark joyous countenance. We all stand aside you and behind you as you lead us and help turn the Galilee into a blossoming piece of the Land of Israel.”