J Street Rabbinic Leaders Condemn Religious Ruling Barring Home Rentals to Non-Jews

December 8, 2010

J Street Rabbinic Cabinet co-chairs Rabbis John Friedman and Julie Saxe-Taller responded to the recent ruling by Israeli municipal rabbis that attempts to bar the renting or selling of homes to non-Jews:

This week’s ruling by rabbis in Israel that forbids the renting or selling of homes to non-Jews is deeply disturbing and represents a cynical and offensive use of Torah and Jewish values to promote a discriminatory, fundamentalist ideology. As rabbis, we join with Prime Minister Netanyahu and many other Israeli leaders in condemning this racist decision and standing up for the democratic principles on which Israel was founded. Rulings such as this that pervert Jewish teachings are inimical to what it truly means to be a democratic homeland of the Jewish people – and undermines the commitment to human rights and justice commanded by the Torah and expressed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. The rabbis’ decision also violates the basic ideas of tolerance and understanding we expect any religious leader to uphold. To attempt to connect this intolerant agenda to our values and history as a people is both irresponsible and unacceptable. We hope Prime Minster Netanyahu will move quickly to suspend these municipal state-funded rabbis from their posts.