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Rabbis May Draft 'Softer' Decree Regarding Houses for Arabs

Three hundred rabbis reportedly signed a Halachic decree forbidding sale and rental of houses to Arabs. A-G is looking into the matter.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/9/2010, 10:06 PM / Last Update: 12/9/2010, 9:59 PM

Flash 90

Two hundred and fifty rabbis have reportedly joined fifty others who signed a Halachic (Jewish-legal) decree forbidding Jews to sell or rent out homes to Arabs. The signatories include dozens of city and community rabbis who are employed by the state. 

The Halachic decree comes in the wake of years in which Arabs have flooded Jewish neighborhoods and towns, changing the demographic status quo and often terrorizing the local Jews, while violently expelling any Jew who attempts to live in Arab villages.
 
The Arab influx is accompanied by deliberate buy-ups of land by foreign Arabs. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority broadcasts target Arab citizens of Israel and incite them against the state as part of the PA's war on Israel.
 
Rabbi Chaim Druckman, Head of the Bnei Akiva Yeshivas, has expressed support for the spirit of the rabbis' decree while not signing it himself. He reportedly is hammering out a softer version of the decree, that will refrain from explicitly forbidding sale to Arabs.
 
Liberal and leftist elements in Israel are in an uproar over the decree, and claim that it constitutes racism. Attorney-General Yehudah Weinstein said Thursday that he is looking into the possible 'criminal aspects' of the letter, after MK Ilan Gilon of Meretz asked him to. He is not expected to prosecute the rabbis, however.
 
President Shimon Peres attacked the rabbis for bringing about “a fundamental moral crisis in the State of Israel regarding the essence and content of the state as a Jewish and democratic one.”
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also came out against the decree. “How would we feel if they said not to sell apartments to Jews?” he asked rhetorically.  
 
About 20 residents of the community of Meitar in the Negev held a protest outside the home of Rabbi Moshe Bigel, the community's rabbi, after he signed the decree. Their spokesman compared the decree to anti-Semitic decrees in foreign lands. Interviewed on Channel 1 TV, Bigel stood behind his decision to sign the decree. He noted, however, that it expressed his opinion as a rabbi, but was not intended to express the position of his community. 
 
Rabbi Dov Shalom Wolpe of Our Land of Israel told the TV reporter that he would happily be “the first to go to jail” over the matter.