An ongoing struggle for Bnei Brak residents against rental by non-Jews: Important rabbinical leaders published an announcement this week stating that it is forbidden to sell apartments to Arabs.
The rabbis signing the document include Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman, Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, Rabbi Michael Yehuda Lefkovich, Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Landau and others.
The document, entitled "A holy calling – regarding the severe phenomenon on renting apartments to Arabs in Pardes Katz" stated "we wish to announce that this is entirely forbidden."
The document went on to say that anyone who has additional information regarding the phenomenon is asked to report it to the branch focused on rescue from assimilation of the Yad La Achim (a hand to the brothers) organization.
The rabbis' document was reported by neighborhood committee chairman Roni Tzaig. "The committee prepared a petition signed by rabbis in Bnei Brak, along with residents, calling to get the Arabs and non-Jews out of Bnei Brak."
According to Tzaig, "no one wants them here. They damage things. This includes physical violence, verbal violence, arson pursuant to internal altercations, control over our children, looting and theft."
Tzaig told Ynet that some 150 apartments in the neighborhood have been rented to Arabs or illegal residents.
Regarding the reason behind the rabbis' support of the document, editor of the neighborhood paper Voice of the City Inon Pelech, said that they were worried about assimilation and a negative spiritual effect from non-Jewish neighbors.
"Usually such an announcement doesn't manage to fire up residents who hitherto were uninvolved in the struggle and didn't care about it," he said, explaining the importance of the rabbis' document.
"This announcement, I believe, will cause people who see their neighbors renting to or employing certain elements, to report it to the police or other relevant sources," he added.
Also joining the fight was the Yad La Achim organization, which combats missionizing and assimilation attempts by foreign groups on Jews.
Tzipora, who manages the branch of Yad La Achim dealing with the Pardes Katz issue, told Ynet that the organization's focus is "not anti-Arab and not against the Arab public."
However, she says, "many Arab youths arrive in Bnei Brak, with severe emotional problems, as early as age 12 or 13, as well as Russian families, and they "take advantage of the girls in a horrible way."
According to Tzipora, she doesn't have a problem with Arabs arriving with their families. "If they would come to Pardes Katz with their family, with their children, and we knew they were neat people…we wouldn't have a problem."
"The minute that flawed people come, human nature causes them to do what they should not. This is what we oppose."
Yad La Achim logged 478 complaints of this nature in 2006, involving girls as young as 11 to women in their forties, Tzipora said. Her branch has a social worker to help the girls and their parents deal with the issue.
"Our approach to the issue is that there is a root problem," she said. "A girl doesn't go out with an Arab because she likes it. This is just a symptom."
"Our role is to get to the root of the problem. If a girl comes from a broken home, this is the source of her emotional problems."