Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein
has decided to dismiss the case against Safed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu,
who was being investigated over some inciting remarks that were attributed to him in the media.
Last November, the attorney general had ordered a probe into the rabbi on suspicion of incitement to racism after he allegedly told reporters that the Arab culture is cruel and is predisposed towards violence and theft.
The comments were purportedly said in support of an edict
issued by Eliyahu and 50 other rabbis, warning followers against renting or selling homes to anyone who isn't Jewish.
Weinstein decided to throw out the case at the request of the State Prosecutor's Office after investigators found no evidence that the quotes "correctly reflected the statements that were actually made."
Among other leads, the investigators probed the journalists who quoted Eliyahu; none had recorded his speech. According to the statement, some reporters admitted that they could have tweaked the content.
The prosecution therefore could not rule out the possibility of a discrepancy that could have occurred between Eliyahu's actual remarks and they way they were quoted.
Weinstein also noted that Eliyahu and the other rabbis responsible for the real estate-related ban released a statement claiming that their decree was not meant to come off as discriminatory against non-Jews.
"The State of Israel
is obligated to treat all its citizens equally," the rabbis' statement read. "This approach is based in the Torah and the law."
Attorney Aviad Hacohen, who represents Eliyahu, told Ynet that the attorney general's decision "echoes our stance that a conflict of opinions, no matter how extreme, should not be handled by the criminal system."