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‘We Will Fight for Tzfat’s Jewish Identity’

Rabbis visit Tzfat to strengthen Jewish sovereignty in the city.
By Elad Benari and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 1/9/2011, 8:16 PM / Last Update: 1/10/2011, 2:20 AM

Some of Israel’s prominent rabbis and Knesset members visited the city of Tzfat in northern Israel on Sunday.


Rabbi Mordechai Rabinowitz, Secretary of the Rabbinical Council of Yesha, explained that the primary purpose of the gathering in Tzfat is to learn more about local Arabs’ plans to buy up Jewish property for extraordinarily high prices.

“It’s well known that this is part of a campaign to weaken the Jewish state,” said Rabbi Rabinowitz, who added that the rabbis also came to Tzfat to learn up close about assimilation and intermarriage between Jews and Arabs. “One has to remember that for an Arab male to befriend a Jewish girl is a righteous deed for the Arab but the reverse – for an Arab girl to go with a Jewish boy – that puts that girl in danger. So you’re not talking here about just ordinary mingling between nations. You’re talking about an attempt to destroy the Jewish character of Israel, and that we’re going to fight against that.”

Rabbi Rabinowitz added that the Jews are essentially in a state of war. “We’re surrounded by enemies, and one of the tactics being used by the enemy is to pour money into the hands of their agents here to buy Jewish property, and to encourage the Arab men to take Jewish girls to their villages, and in this way destroy their future and destroy our future. Anybody with a little bit of common sense understands that in a war, if you help the enemy, you’re going to lose the war.”

One of the speakers at the gathering was Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, the Rosh Yeshiva and Dean of the Beit El Yeshiva Center Institutions, who said  that “We are determined that Israel be a state with a Jewish identity and that is what the struggle is all about. There are those who seek to cover up the state's Jewish identity and to turn it into a country without identity.”

Rabbi Melamed added that the rabbis’ letter calling Jews not to sell land to Arabs reflects the words of the Torah. He called to awaken all the rabbis in Israel and have them sign the letter. “We should strive to fight so that foreigners can live in this country only if they recognize that the State of Israel has a clear Jewish identity. We support the courageous Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu’s actions.”

Among those who visited Tzfat was MK Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz of the National Union party, who told INN TV that there is no definitely no hate by Israel's Jews towards any gentiles. “We have nothing to do with any hatred against gentiles,” he said and added that the people of Israel are always blamed of hating gentiles even though they are simply keeping their identity.

“We are special, we have a prayer which says this,” said Katz. “We have been chosen by G-d but not to kill or to discriminate against the gentiles. We love everybody, but we have to love our nation more than we love others.”