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Meretz MK Asks Court: Disqualify Rabbi Eliyahu

MK Isawi Frej says “racist” pronouncements by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu make him unfit for chief rabbi post.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/16/2013, 1:12 AM

MK Issawi Frej
MK Issawi Frej
Israel news photo: Flash 90

MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) filed a motion to the High Court Monday, against the candidacy of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu for the post of chief Sephardic rabbi. MK Frej said that Rabbi Eliyahu officially filed his candidacy Sunday.

The motion claims that statements regarding Arabs made in the past by Rabbi Eliyahu make him unfit for the prestigious position. The statements in question led to police investigations that ended with no charges being filed.

MK Frej, who is being represented by Attorney Gabi Lasky, denounced what he termed “the delicate dance” that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is involved in with Rabbi Eliyahu and his advocates. The “dance,” he explained, “leaves me no choice but to turn to the High Court.”

"I hope that the High Court judges will not be afraid to make a clear and strong statement – whoever holds racist views, expresses them publicly and even incites against an entire public within Israel cannot run for ot hold public office, certainly not a lofty and representative one, and even more so one of spiritual leadership that includes judicial authority,” Frej said.

Frej called the attorney general's request for “clarifications” from Rabbi Eliyahu is “ridiculous” and asks, “what is there to clarify?”

“Rabbi Eliyahu thinks that Arabs are not equal citizens, that apartments should not be rented or sold to them, and if possible, they should be transferred [from Israel]. There is nothing clearer than that,” Frej stated. “I hope that the attorney general wakes up and announces that he opposes [Rabbi] Eliyahu's candidacy, but based on his behavior until now, I do not rely in this, and I intend to turn to the High Court today.”

Many nationalists would find MK Frej's demands ironic, in view of what many see as Arab MKs' own habit of brutal incitement against Jews, including calling for an uprising and supporting terror.