Dozens of municipal rabbis signed a manifest ordering a halachic ban on selling or renting land and apartments in Israel to non-Jews.
The document, which was endorsed by more than 50 national-religious and ultra-Orthodox rabbis working in municipalities across Israel, is slated to be disseminated through the religious press and fliers handed out in synagogues over the weekend.
The signatories include rabbis Dov Lior, Shlomo Aviner and Ya'akov Yosef. Most rabbis are public servants working in municipalities and cities across Israel including Eilat, Ashdod, Herzliya, Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, Naharia, and Holon.
The signatures were collected by a kolel student from Netanya who chose to appeal to municipal chief rabbies following the uproar caused by Safed rabbi's call not
to rent apartments to Arab students in the city. He approached the public servants and not yeshiva heads in order to emphasize that the ruling does not reflect a political view but rather a standard halachic ban.
The statement quotes a variety of halachic passages referring to the issue and notes that in some cases persons renting apartments to non-Jews could be ostracized.
"The neighbors and acquaintances of the seller or renter must warn him personally first and later they are allowed to make this matter public, distance themselves from him, avoid commercial ties, and so on," the statement reads.
The rabbis presented various justifications for the ban, including fears of intermarriage and blasphemy. The statement added that sellers bear responsibility for the physical and spiritual outcomes of their actions.
The document further warned that whoever rents apartments to non-Jews is causing great damage to his neighbors as "their way of life is different than that of the Jews." Among non-Jews one can also find enemies who may endanger the lives of Jews, the rabbis said.
Their statement suggested there was no difference between a person who rents out an apartment to a non-Jew in Israel and a person who does so within Jewish neighborhoods abroad.
The organizers have yet to obtain the signatures of senior haredi rabbis but enclosed a statement issued by leading rabbis five years ago. Rabbis Chaim Kanievsky, Nissim Karelitz, and Aharon Leib Shteinman said at the time that land or homes in Israel cannot be sold to gentiles.