Rabbi obsessed with sex, race and property appointed to emergency aid committee
This posting has 3 items; Links for protest letters are in items 1 and 2.
1) The Pluralist newsletter: Keep the pressure on MDA ;
2) Movement for Reform Judaism: Reform Judaism joins global campaign opposing Magen David Adom’s appointment of inflammatory rabbi;
3) IRAC: Some statements by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu;
August 13, 2012
From a profound commitment to the Jewish people and progressive Jewish values we are joining the campaign to raise the alarm about the appointment of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu by Magen David Adom (MDA). Rabbi Eliyahu, as the chief rabbi of Safed, has used his position of authority to incite to racism and xenophobia. His extreme views pose a real danger to Israeli democracy and have no place in such a worthy organization.
MDA assists people in their most difficult moments regardless of race, religion or creed. We admire MDA for their holy work and we share with them a profound belief in the values of equality. As friends, we now turn to MDA to question the unfortunate decision to appoint Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu on their halachic committee.
Martin Buber teaches us about Ahavat Israel: “Love your neighbor as yourself: turn to your friend with love, with acts of love, as a brother”. It is with these sentiments that we ask MDA to make the right choice in this matter.
In the past weeks, many of you have corresponded with MDA branches around the world to express your support of the work that they do, and to protest the appointment of Rabbi Eliyahu. You have received the following answers:
1. Rabbi Eliyahu has no authority to set policy within MDA. He is not the only member on the committee.
We want to respond by saying that the appointment of Rabbi Eliyahu by the MDA taints the entire organization with the racist remarks that he continues to make, and validates him as a leader in Israel.
2. Rabbi Eliyahu was cleared of all charges of racist incitement
History shows that Rabbi Eliyahu not only allows himself to incite to racism, he also has no hesitation to deny it after the fact (for example, he denied having made the statements in his own op-ed published in Haaretz in 2008).
Use this link to continue emailing MDA offices worldwide. We have made a special page on our website with information about the latest developments in this campaign. You can also click here to read more about Rabbi Eliyahu’s statements. [see below]
On behalf of the Reform Movement in North America and Israel, we want to convey a clear message to MDA: We support you in your work and we demand that you stand by our shared values. This issue is not going away, and we trust your leadership to find a solution so that we can all be blessed by your work.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs
President, Union for Reform Judaism
Movement for Reform Judaism
August 14, 2012
The Movement for Reform Judaism (MRJ) has added its voice to the growing campaign to urge Magen David Adom (MDA) to reconsider its appointment of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, to its new halachic committee.
In 2009, Rabbi Eliyahu, issued a halachic ruling seeking to bar Jewish landlords from renting accommodation to Arab students in Tzfat, one of numerous inflammatory and discriminatory statements he has made over the past decade.
Ben Rich, Chief Executive of MRJ, has endorsed the comments of Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the Chief Executive of the Union of Reform Judaism in the United states, who says: “Rabbi Eliyahu has used his position of authority to incite racism and xenophobia. His extreme views pose a real danger to Israeli democracy and have no place in such a worthy organization.”
Rich adds: “I hugely admire Magen David Adom, but Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is not a worthy representative. Should the organisation persist with his appointment, it is likely create an unnecessary and unworthy distraction from MDA’s excellent work with those in need, regardless of race or religion.”
MRJ is encouraging members to contact MDA’s UK office in support of the Israeli Religious Action Center’s campaign on this issue, to express support for MDA’s work while protesting their appointment of Rabbi Eliyahu.
[Selection from] List of statements by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
Israel Religious Action Center
“This is another foundation of the war the Palestinians are waging against us, and we must know how to defend ourselves against it. It’s about Jewish young women… who have been seduced by young Arab men. The relationships that develop are not healthy ones, and we must rescue them… In most cases, these Arab men are married to Arab women, and they take the Jewish women as kind of maidservants, and the women cannot escape… The college [in Tzfat] is unacceptable to me in its present format, and I advise anyone who asks me not to register to study there… The best solution is to establish a college for Arabs, so that only Jews will study at the college in Tzfat…”
July 30, 2004, interview for the weekly newspaper Kol Ha’emek Vehagalil.
“If we examine the results of in the vast majority of cases, over 90 percent of the cases we handle of Jewish girls who ended up… who entered into relationships with Arab men, then the vast majority ends in violence… It is no secret that they [Israeli Arabs] identify with the Arab struggle and are happy when there are terror attacks, like any Arab who is sent or who sends people to commit attacks – they also support them financially… I am still urging people not to rent apartments to Arabs and not to sell apartments to Arabs, I haven’t retracted my statements.”
August 18, 2004, interview for the radio program “All Talk” on Reshet Bet
“A Response to the Blood Spilled, A manifesto
“A Good Decision!
“Again and again it emerges that ostensibly cheap Arab labor actually wreaks the heaviest of prices on us, in blood. The murderous tractors driven by Arabs from East Jerusalem are merely the tip of the iceberg of a national problem that has long since become an existential danger that threatens the wellbeing of the nation dwelling in Zion, as sources of livelihood are usurped and Jews are displaced at every turn. Through the creeping seizure of Jewish neighborhoods, through insolence and audacity, through increasing verbal and physical violence, through the systematic and deliberate offense to the honor of Jewish girls, and up to the point of intermarriage with Jewish women who fall into their net.
“The time has come to tell the truth: Providing a livelihood for our enemies leads to grave consequences –
“The apparent benefit (cheap labor) is outweighed by the cost. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:13).
“Proper Jewish leadership should act forcefully to deter terrorists and those who send or support them.
Expel the enemies and remove bloodshed from the Holy Land.
“Proper Jewish leadership should act to encourage Jewish labor in all sectors and to restore the dignity of the Jewish worker. ‘Let your brother be with you.’
“Even in the current situation, when there is no proper leadership, each one of us nevertheless bears a personal liability.
“Each one of us must take at least one step of repentance and repair in order to promote Jewish labor and not to provide a livelihood for Jew-haters.
“Even those for whom it is difficult in this stage to move to solely Jewish labor should begin the process of repair.
“For example: try to make purchases in shops that employ only Jews.
A Call to Action
“As a first, practical step, we urge people to stop employing the Arab enemy, at least within our immediate circle.
”We will not let the enemy into our home. We will not purchase from the enemy. We will not directly employ enemies.
“Thanks to our firm adherence to the Torah and the commandments, and out of pure love of Israel, may we be privileged to see soon the realization of our destiny: Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder. Amen.”
July 30, 2008, religious manifesto signed by a number of prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Eliyahu
“This is not a localized phenomenon, it is a behavioral one. You cannot come to a quiet, noble tourist town and feel as though it is an Arab village. If you are a guest, behave like a guest. But if you want to feel like a landlord and dictate matters of style, then there is a Halacha that says that it is prohibited to rent a house to you. Once there are more than three Arabs in a neighborhood, the Halachic significance is that Jews hand over the center to them. A Jew should not flee from Arabs. A Jew should make the Arabs flee. There is a silent war going on here for land. With Saudi funding. With antisemitic banknotes. The goal is to conquer the Land – to create a situation in which we will be unable to live here. The Arabs are patient and composed. They say to themselves – ‘Let’s occupy one street after another, one neighborhood after another, and remove the Jews from their land.’ The apartments that Arab students wish to buy or rent in Tzfat are a manifestation of a sophisticated war in which money takes the place of weapons.
“Because the Arabs bring their norms here with them. A study by a professor at Haifa University has determined that most of the violence in Israeli society stems from the Arabs. I have seen with my own eyes Arab students who came to Tzfat, were only here two days, and had already started flirting with girls from the religious seminary. Modest girls who came to study in a religious atmosphere were forced to turn round and flee. As soon as you give the Arab a place among us, it takes him five minutes to start doing whatever he likes. If he dared to treat Arab girls in his village the way he treats Jewish girls, they would throw him to the wolves and slaughter him in the town square. It’s only by us that the Arabs feel free. For them, our girls are easy prey. And not only in Tzfat. Ask the Jewish girls who study on Mt. Scopus what a nightmare they have to go through every night.
“I’m not against Arabs. I’m in favor of strengthening girls and the religious family.Expelling Arabs from Jewish neighborhoods is part of the strategy.
“The Israeli Arabs want to annihilate me and remove me from the Land. Therefore, I do not need to engage in discussions with them. What does it matter what they say? What matters is what I know. They have a clear agenda to obliterate the Jewish State of Israel. I say to them, you have 22 Arab country yet you are trying to deny me the possibility to establish one Jewish country? So you are insolent. And I am not even entering into a discussion with you. I don’t care about your claims. You even distort your own Koran. In several places there is explicitly states that the Biblical prophets spoke the truth, and they all say clearly that the Land belongs to the Jewish people. Mohammed tells his believers that God has determined that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel. But the Arabs claim that Mohammed was referring to Egypt, not to Israel. All kinds of strange claims. Entire classes of students claim that the Jews were not even present here in the past, that they did not agree to enter the Land during the time of Moses. They remained in the desert. They ignore history. There was no Temple, no Sanctuary – nothing. It’s impossible to listen to such stupid comments.
“I have much compassion for humans, and even for animals. I have no compassion for enemies. Once someone comes and tells me, in my own home, that I am a guest and he is the master of the house; once someone distorts history; once someone behaves in my city as if it were his village; once he declares his goal of transforming the character of the city of Tzfat – there is no obligation for me to have compassion for him. On the contrary. Jesus said that we should also pity our enemies. I don’t operate according to Jesus’ crooked standards. My standards say that whoever pities enemies is a stupid fool.
“The Arabs have a different code, and violent norms that have become an ideology. Just as agricultural theft is an ideology for Arabs. Just as extortion of protection money from farms in the Negev is an ideology. Five months ago, the leading Arab journalist, Zuhair Andreus, editor of the newspaper Ma’ al-Hadath, wrote that someone who sells land to a Jew is worse than a woman who cheats on her husband. The woman violates the honor of the family, but the person who sells to a Jew violates the honor of an entire people. We must note that the expression “a woman who cheats on her husband” is a code for cruel murder. In the Palestinian Authority, for example, anyone who sells land to a Jew is executed. A friend of mine bought an apartment in the Old City of Jerusalem. They caught the Arab who sold him the house, poured gasoline on him, and burned him alive.
“Arab culture is very cruel. In Tzfat, during the 1929 riots, near to the street where I now live, they caught Jews, hung them from the ceiling by their feet and burned their heads on an oil stove. Even today, in Gaza, they throw people off roofs and drag them round the city center by jeeps. We saw what happened to the Jewish soldiers who got caught in Ramallah by mistake. The whole public – not an isolated individual – lynched them. And this is the Authority we have peace agreements with. In 1929, Arab neighbors who had lived peacefully next to Jews, one yard next to the other, cut off their hands and heads, not to mention rape and looting. This is the culture of the Arabs. You can’t argue about it or close your eyes.”
November 19, 2010, article in the weekend supplement of Ma’ariv: “Rabbi Eliyahu: A Jew Should Not Flee from Arabs,” by Sari Makover-Belikov.
“There’s a question of character, and character is also reflected in speech, in conversation. I have something else to say – it may be unpleasant, but it’s a fact. Look, we walk around the city and we see the way they behave with Jewish girls, it’s really unpleasant… A fighter from the 1948 War is bringing Arabs back to Tzfat, it’s a shame and a disgrace… He is harming us all, the people of the Old City feel that he is harming us…”
November 3, 2010, “What’s Burning?” Galei Tzahal
“Personally, I don’t have a problem with Arabs. But once you have Arabs and Jews living together, that’s not good. Because naturally relations can develop between them and Jewish girls… The truth is that I think that Tzfat should be Jewish. The Arabs and Muslims have 22 countries today.
November 19, 2010, “When the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, Shmuel Eliyahu, begins to speak, there’s reason to be concerned,” Ha’aretz, by Chaim Levenson.
“In response to a question many have asked us, we reply that there is a prohibition from the Torah to sell a house or field in the Land of Israel to a Gentile. As Maimonides says: ‘As it is written, “You shall not give them camp” (Deuteronomy 7:2) – you shall not let them camp on the ground, for if they do not have ground, their presence is temporary…’ (Hilchot Avodah Zarah, 10:4). The Torah warned against this several times, that it causes evil and leads many to sin through intermarriage, as it is written: ‘For they will turn your son away from following me’ (Deuteronomy 7:4), which constitutes a desecration of God’s name (Maimonides Hilchot Issurei Bi’ah,12:6), and leads people to commit other sins, as the Torah warned: ‘They shall not dwell in your land lest they make you sin against me’ (Exodus 23:33). And the iniquity of selling and all that ensues hangs around the neck of those who sell, Heaven forbid. And to add insult to injury, those who sell or rent an apartment to them in an area where Jews live cause great injury to their neighbors. They are among those referred to in the verse: ‘They shall harass you in the land where you dwell’ (Numbers 33:55). For their way of life is different from that of Jews, and some of them hate us and seek to harm us to the point of mortal danger,” as has been published on more than one occasion. Even abroad, it was prohibited to sell to them within a Jewish neighborhood for this reason, and all the more so in the Land of Israel, as clarified in the Shulchan Arukh (Yoreh Deah,151), that this is a prohibition that pertains both among humans and between the individual and God. It is well known that following the sale or renting of one apartment, the value of all the neighbors’ apartments falls, even if the purchasers or tenants are pleasant at the beginning. He who sells or rents first causes a major loss to his neighbors, and his iniquity is too great to bear. Who permitted him to do this? And he thereby leads others to sell their property and to flee the place. And those who sell to Gentiles after him also add grave iniquity, which hangs around all their necks. And if this Gentile is violent or harasses his neighbors, then the Shulchan Arukh has already clarified that anyone who sells to him must be excommunicated!! Until he removes the damage, even if the cost involved is great (Yoreh Deah, 334:43). And in our days we do not excommunicate, of course, because it is too grave a measure. However, all the neighbors and acquaintances of the person who sells or rents property must alert and warn him, firstly in private and later in public and publish the matter. They must stay away from him, avoid commerce with them, refuse to call him up to the Torah, and so forth, until he repairs this great damage. And those who listen to us will dwell in safety. Amen, may this be His will.”
December 7, 2010, “The Rabbis’ Letter.” Rabbi Eliyahu spearheaded this religious ruling. He authored it, actively enlisted rabbis to sign it and launched a large-scale media campaign to rally public support around it.
“I can tell the public that I am proud. In Tzfat, the Halachic ruling has worked!! Thank God, people do not sell land to Gentiles in Tzfat; nor do rent let apartments.”
April 26, 2011, conference in Ramle