Renting out apartments to Arabs has been forbidden by Safed's rabbis, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has also pointed out that it is forbidden, and many other rabbis remain sheepishly silent on grounds of political correctness and admit that "there is nothing to be done, this is halachic law".
One person who disagrees with these rabbis is the head of the Petah Tikva hesder yeshiva, Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, who states that "it is right and correct prefer renting out apartments within our own nation, but it is not right to ban renting out apartments to Arabs."
In an article published in the weekly Maayanei Ha'Yeshuaa which is distributed every Shabbat in synagogues, he explains that: "Jewish sovereignty cannot exist without caring for foreigners who live among us when it comes to housing and employment.
"From the moment the State of Israel was established, we became responsible not only for the Jews who reside here but for whoever is within Israel's territory and under its sovereignty.
"This is also the halachic reason for all the rabbinical discussions into the status of a foreigner in Israel during the founding of the State of Israel. Foreigners were given special status that was based on the rights of a citizen with the right to be elected to almost any post in State institutions."
According to Rabbi Sherlo, this is correct on both a moral-humane plane and the halachic plane: "They are humans and they deserve to be able to make a living with dignity, develop their connection with god and have a roof over their heads like any person in the world."
The rabbi believes that earning a living, employment, education and a place to live are all part of the human rights of any foreigner living in Israel "and so you can't decide not to solve everyone's housing problems, and you especially can't cut them off from available apartment rentals."
There is a limit
And yet, Rabbi Sherlo makes it clear that like in any discipline in the Torah and the world in general, these rules have limits for at the end of the day "this is our country, we are committed to it, and it is committed to us, and we cannot allow foreign sovereignty on our land" this due to the fact that some Israeli Arabs claim to be masters of this land and work to overthrow us from within.
"The limits stem from the Torah's mitzvoth which obligate us to prefer our brethren while remaining committed to ensuring that there is no desecration of God or immoral behavior."
Rabbi Sherlo concludes that "it would obviously be wrong to generalize and say everyone is hostile, everyone is dangerous or any other kind of 'everyone'. Collective punishment is forbidden by the Torah.
"We must work to ensure increased settlement on lands in the Galilee and the Negev, not through forbidding rentals or carrying out a hurtful campaign but through increased Jewish settlements while showing concern for the foreigners who live among us."
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