Israeli Rabbi: ‘Jews should make the Arabs flee’

The Independent reports:

First they threatened to burn his house down. Then they pinned leaflets to his front door, denouncing him as a Jewish traitor. But Eli Tzavieli, an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor, is defiant. His only “crime” is to rent out his rooms to three Arab students attending the college in Safed, a religious city in northern Israel that was until recently more famous for Jewish mysticism and Madonna.

A campaign waged by Shmuel Eliyahu, the town’s radical head rabbi, culminating in a ruling barring residents from renting rooms to Israeli Arabs, means that Safed is fast emerging as a byword for racism.

“I’m not looking for trouble, but if there is a problem, I’ll confront it,” says Mr Tzavieli, a Jew who survived Nazi forced labour camps and whose parents perished in Auschwitz. “These [tenants] are great kids. And I’m doing my best to make them comfortable.”

Didi Remez provides a translation of an article from the Hebrew Maariv:

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi, of Safed is staging a tenacious battle these days. In his sights: Arabs, “who are fighting a land war against us” and “who want to throw us into the sea,” according to the rabbi. In a recent Halachic ruling the rabbi forbid Safed residents from selling or renting their homes to Arabs. The ruling sparked a storm, but Eliyahu was unmoved. “Jews don’t have to run away from Arabs,” said the rabbi in his first comprehensive interview, to be published in full in the Ma’ariv weekend supplement. “Jews should make the Arabs flee.”

“One person in Safed rented his home to three Bedouins,” says Rabbi Eliyahu. “I went to visit him. The tenants asked me ‘why are you against us?’ I told them we don’t want to make Safed into an Arab city. Even if this were Tel Aviv I would object. How much more so when talking about the holy city of Safed. They told me ‘you’ve got to recognize the fact. This is life. This is reality. And I couldn’t believe my ears. The Arabs don’t even bother denying they’ve got a system. It’s so simple: One person moves into a Jewish neighborhood, pays a high price and all the Jews leave immediately. Naturally, they don’t want to live next door to them.

“Their behavior is unpleasant. They stuck an old Arab woman into a public housing neighborhood. In theory, it was harmless. But as soon as she arrived she started to harass us. Every Shabbat ten cars of Arabs would come. The whole village was at her house. They played music, made noise. They had the nerve to act in a Jewish neighborhood in a way they never would have dared act in their village.”

Was that an isolated incident? Not if you ask the holy rabbi. “It is a behavioral phenomenon. You can’t come to a quiet tourist town and feel like you’re in an Arab village. If you’re a guest, act like a guest. But if you want to feel like you own the place, then the Halacha says it is forbidden to rent a home to you.

As soon as there are more than three Arabs in a neighborhood, [in practical terms] it means the Jews will yield the center to them. Jews don’t need to run away from Arabs. Jews should make the Arabs flee.

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