Artists on Sunday protested a racist letter published by rabbis, calling on Jews not to rent homes to Arabs. The protest followed a formal request for the dismissal of the rabbis, including the chief rabbi of Safed, issued on Saturday.
Some 50 people took part in the protest organized by author Sefi Rachlevsky, including author and painter Yair Garbuz, author Yoram Kaniuk, and Professor Gavriel Salomon. They called the rabbis' initiative a symbol of "racial dictatorship".
Protestors gathered at 16 Rothschild Avenue in Tel Aviv, where the Declaration of Independence was read, in order to demonstrate that if the racism continues without the intervention of the local authorities "the state will have no right to exist".
Garbuz told Ynet that racism is on the rise in Israel. "In my view this, of all the troubles, is the most dangerous," he said. "If racism is not stopped it will be our end and we will no longer have any right to exist."
When asked whether he understood those who feared residing in a mixed-race neighborhood he answered, "Fear must not be escalated. If someone is afraid, that is what the police are there for. You have to be stupid to fear this."
The writer accused the government of ignoring the matter. "Our stupid government should have done something a long time ago. We only have a few hours to stop the racist wave," he said.
On Friday the chief rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, announced that he had refused to report to a police summons over the letter. The police, who want to interrogate Eliyahu on suspicion of inciting to racism, say they may be forced to take more severe measures.
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