Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Israeli Crazies

A few months ago I defended the Rav Yosef as a talk he had given was caricatured and damned the world over. My line at the time was that the reports of his talk were fueled by total ignorance and a large dose of malice.

I don't always defend rabbis, however. This week we've got the case of the group of rabbis who wrote a letter forbidding the rental or sale of apartments to non-Jews (by which they mean Arabs; they have no problem with non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, of whom there are a few hundred thousand in Israel). This position is stupid, wrong, idiotic, and, yes, evil. Fortunately the entire secular majority of politicians, left to right, have strongly rejected it, with Netanyahu and Shimon Peres leading the charge. The religious politicians have remained silent, more their shame.

One of the stranger offshoots of Zionism is the way some on the fringes lose their marbles. The far-left radicals who are growing ever louder in their erasing of Jewish history are an example I've written about repeatedly here; the religious figures who pretend Jews are intended to be some sort of master race in their land are just as pernicious on the other end of the political spectrum.


Lee Ratner said...

My favorite fringe group in Israel are the ones who want to rebuild the Temple right now and restart Temple Judaism, including the sacrifices and pilgrimages. The Temple Judaism faction has been around since the early days of the Zionist movement. Moses Hess wrote lovingly on restarting the sacrifices in Rome and Jerusalem. He even tried to argue that sacrifices are compatible with the new spirit of liberal humanitarinism of the 19th century.

NormanF said...

I don't agree with you on this one. I would not want an Arab Muslim living among me. Like many secular people, you Ya'acov, have fallen victim to the notion of moral relativism. It implies every one is on the same moral footing. Sorry, but no that isn't true. The Arabs who cheered the burning of Mt. Carmel have nothing in common with the Jews. I hazard a good guess Israel's Rabbis are far saner than Israel's foolish secular elite who have never bothered to study the Torah, including the commentary of Rashi. It is a moral obligation - even common sense, not to rent or sell property to those who hate Jews and wish them dead. There will never be universal brotherhood in the Middle East - at least not in our lifetime.

Lee Ratner said...

NormanF, you realize that Christians and Muslims not so long ago used to say very similar things about the Jews. That we are a tribal people who only care about ourselves and root when bad things happens to others. They used this to justify all sorts of horrible persecutions of others. Jews shouldn't return the favor, we are bette than this.

Anonymous said...

while there is a halachic basis in not selling land in the aretz to a non jew, there really is none when it comes to renting

so i dont understand where these rabbeim are coming from

Y. Ben-David said...

I also was under the impression that renting is not a problem, if it is not permanent.
What gets me about this whole brouhaha is that those who are loudest complaining about the supposed "racism" of those who signed the Rabbis letter are being hypocritical. For example, I heard one of the news people on Israel radio ranting on an on about how terrible this is, but then I noted that I am not aware of any Arabs who appear on Israel radio. I don't think thing there are any Arab television celebrities on Israel TV, either. The "liberal" Ha'aretz has one semi-regular Arab columnist and no regular journalists who are Arab, at least that I am aware of.
Secular Kibbutzim have very few, if any Arab members and they are not following the directions of any "rabbinical council" in having this situation. How many Arabs live in "progressive" Ramat Aviv where Shimon Peres and a lot of the secular, Ashkenazi elite live?

Of course, Israeli Arabs have strict, if unwritten rules about selling land to Jews and it is well known that the Palestinian Authority and Jordan have the death penalty for selling land to Jews.
This is the way it is in the Middle East. Ethnic groups and religious groups stick together.

Silke said...

at Letters from Runghold there were a number of comments from people who visit Safed once in a while or even often.

What they described reminded me very much of what ex-Russian youths inflicted on my remote village during Sunday afternoon napping time (the only time a farming village is ever almost noise-free, except of course during harvest time).

Landlords who wanted to uphold peace with their neighbours began to avoid renting to "Russians" with sons of the critical age. Those who behaved continued to be liked, helped in any way and respected. Eventually the problem disappeared because they opted for clustering in another area. May landlords have hurt families with well behaved sons while the trouble lasted? Of course, but what is a community to do, when a group has acquired the right to special consideration.

The police said they couldn't help the sleep deprived because they would be accused of hostility to foreigners, the German euphemism for racism - any German Germans blaring away their car-radios at the children's playground would have been told by them how inappropriate their behaviour was and been asked to stop.

Why Israelis seem to be favouring the big podium over quiet just doing it baffles me every time anew but then I am decadent old Europe.

Anonymous said...

>>The religious politicians have remained silent, more their shame.<<

Not all of them:

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

To Y. Ben-David:

You're disseminating lies. Palestinian law forbids land sales to Israelis, not Jews. And while the punishment is the death penalty, the PA president has systematically vetoed the execution of breakers of this law. Same with Jordan, where it is fully legal to sell land to Jews. As the US Department of State reports, "The Government does not impose restrictions on Jews, and they are permitted to own property and conduct business in the country." See here.

To Yaacov:

Fortunately the entire secular majority of politicians, left to right, have strongly rejected it

This is totally irrelevant. The rabbis who signed the racist ruling are state-paid servants. So long as they're not prosecuted and fired, the whole Israeli Jewish establishment, including Netanyahu and Peres, are complicit in their hate.

Just a Thought said...

"Palestinian law forbids land sales to Israelis, not Jews."

Except that there aren't any Jewish citizens of Palestine/Jordan, so it ammounts to the same thing.

"And while the punishment is the death penalty, the PA president has systematically vetoed the execution of breakers of this law."

Let me undertsand this -- laws enforcing medieval anti-Semitism by condemning people to death aren't a problem because the executions aren't carried out? I think you have just given, in your own twisted amorality, a good justification for Jews not wanting to live in close proximity to Arabs.

"Same with Jordan, where it is fully legal to sell land to Jews. As the US Department of State reports ..."

1. The US DoS doesn't know a damn thing about Jews in/from Arab countries.
2. Jordan did indeed specify the death penalty until recently. Jordanan/Palestinian convictions under such law were well over a hundred cases.
3. Jews aren't rushing to buy property in Jordan, for the exact same reasons one million Jews fled the Muslim world a half-century ago.

In a world in which state-supported institutions (media) and schools and clergy in the PA, Egypt, Lebanon and other Arab countries routinely call for the extermination of Jews, it is pathological for Ibrahim to obsess about a small group of Israeli rabbis' minor words of intolerance, immediately rejected by the Israeli government and people at all levels.

Once again, it is people like Ibrahim who make me begin to understand Benny Morris' "rightist" position that Israel made a mistake not enforcing total separation in 1948 or 1967.

By the way, why isn't the Israeli government prosecuting the leadership of those Israeli Arab villages which have driven out Jews?

Silke said...

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf or more precisely Fake Ibrahim or Ibrahim the Fraudster has revived his blog and now sunk so low that he is working at getting his Google ratings up by linking to his own disgusting blog all over the place.

He does the same thing over at Elder of Ziyon and if somebody has the time to check he may well do it on quite a number of other pro-Israeli-blogs - he uses different aliases by now, so just check whether the URL is always the same - don't give him the click though.

He has an adoring commenter who is a geek and who tried to make it in the blogosphere by disseminating advice on how to get your Google ratings up before he turned to Israel-bashing.

In case somebody knows somebody knows somebody at Google it might be wise telling them about this guy gaming their system.

In the meantime: DON'T FEED THE TROLL

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

a small group of Israeli rabbis' minor words of intolerance, immediately rejected by the Israeli government and people at all levels

As I said, the real test is whether action of some kind is taken against these racist state employees. So far, the government has failed this test.

As for "people at all levels," let's recall that, according to the most recent poll, almost half of Jewish Israelis would be bothered to have an Arab neighbor. Far from being fringe loonies, the rabbis are expressing a racism that is well-ensconced among Israel's Jews.

Silke said...

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf a.k.a. Alberto José Miraya a.k.a. I-as-a-Jew and lots and lots of other stuff is IMHO a troll trying to create traffic for his lower than low-down blog.
Don't feed the Troll.

Just a Thought said...

"the religious figures who pretend Jews are intended to be some sort of master race in their land"

Shame on you, Yaacov! Your implied comparison is despicable and shameful; it is a favourite anti-Semitic trick, reflective of the "chosen people" libel, and should have no place on a Jewish board.

david said...

dear yaacov,

while i totally agree with you on that "...Rav Yosef, who just turned 90, is the greatest living Sephardi rabbi, and arguably the most important halachic scholar of our day..." i am actually a little bit schocked how much you neglect rav yosef's sometimes very not mild sentences.

when the storm kathrina destoyed new orleans he had to say that it was the punishment because the people of new orleans do not study tora. (besides the fact that he seems to noe what -Ashem is doing and why) it is quite annoying: gentilles being punished for not studying the tora???

his rants are very often quite hard to bear and as a such a hasid i would expect from him more gentleness and kindness.

ÿou say: "The Rav Yosef doesn't use the Internet, has never encountered a blog, is unlikely ever to have read Haaretz and certainly doesn't follow the New York Times. He doesn't watch television, though his weekly talk is broadcasted live."
maybe that is precisely the problem.
if he wants to enclude daily life (on a more broad) sphere he should get at least a glance of information about it.

after the carmel fire some shas kneset members saw the need to say, that the fire was a penalty by -Ashem because the people in that area do not observe shabat.

i really think that religious should also be politicans and that the tora can be an adviser for politics.
but to me it seems that for shas it is not that they use politics to follow the tora. but that they use the tora for their own political needs.

the conversion balagan is just another example.
maybe they really thing that conversion is a solely ashkenazi secular problem that could bring down judaism.
but maybe then they should study some jewish history and go on day to a yeshive and look who are those husband of the women who convert!