Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Israel news photo: Flash 90

"We know for sure that the rabbis' ruling has already been effective in stopping some sales," says an involved source.

The ruling banning the sale or renting of apartments to Arabs was originally issued two months ago in the Galilee city of Tzfat, of which several neighborhoods can be said to be mixed Arab-Jewish. Arabs comprise the majority of students in the local college, as well as of service providers in many fields.

In light of this demographic trend, the city's Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu issued the ban. It cites not only classic Jewish sources, but also the fact that bringing nationalist Arabs into Jewish neighborhoods leads to violence and danger to life, intermarriage, and a drop in property values as Jews leave the area and it becomes Arab.

Since the ruling was first issued, nearly 50 city rabbis around the country have signed it – and of late, another 250 have expressed support. This, apparently, in light of the demographic dangers presented by Arabs moving into neighborhoods of Jerusalem, as well as cities such as Nazareth Illit, Ramle, Lod, and more.

Some rabbis and many politicians have come out against the ruling, including Rabbi Yuval Cherlow and Prime Minister Netanyahu. The mayor of Herzliya, Yael German of the Meretz party, has said that she will seek to bring about the firing of the city's Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakobovitz because of his signature on the letter. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has said he will look into charges that the signatories are guilty of incitement.

What the Mukhtar Said
Apropos the fear of intermarriage, well-known youth-at-risk counselor Harel Hetzroni quotes the mukhtar of Jabel Mukabar, a neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, who said to him:

"By us, Muslims are very concerned with women's modesty. A Muslim man of every age knows that if he wants to start up with a girl pre- or extra-maritally, he must think twice, because issues of 'family honor' could cost him his life. But if he really wants, he has a simple solution – Jewish girls… We see how the Jewish women... dress immodestly, and the Jewish men like that; a Jewish man whistles at a girl as if she was a dog, showing exactly what he thinks she is worth... so what do you care if we take some of your garbage?"

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