The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) petitioned Justice Minister Tzipi Livni yesterday, asking her to open disciplinary proceedings against the Chief Rabbi of Sefat Shmuel Eliyahu for "repeated racist incitement."
Association For Civil Rights In Israel Asks Justice Minister To Discipline Racist Chief Rabbi
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) petitioned Justice Minister Tzipi Livni yesterday, Israel HaYom reports, asking her to open disciplinary proceedings against the Chief Rabbi of Sefat Shmuel Eliyahu for "repeated racist incitement."
Eliyahu – the son of former Jewish terrorist Rabbi Mordechai Eliyah who plotted to use violence in an attempt to force the secular state to adopt halakha, rabbinic law, as its own and who was later elected Sefardi chief rabbi of the country despite being unrepentant for his actions – has issued repeated statements and rulings that demonize Israeli Arabs.
“Even if Rabbi Eliyahu's racist, defamatory remarks don't qualify as 'incitement to racism' in the legal sense, that still doesn't make him fit to serve in the lofty position of chief rabbi of a city.
"It is unacceptable for a high-ranking state official to use his status and the prestige of his position, granted to him by the state, to disgrace and humiliate human beings, and to trample on their dignity and basic human rights. The state cannot sit idly by while a senior employee in its service violates the law, incites to racism and undermines its fundamental values and basic laws.
"These things become even more urgent in light of surprising reports suggesting that there are those who are trying to promote Rabbi Eliyahu's candidacy for the position of chief rabbi of Israel. The law authorizing you to take disciplinary measures against a city rabbi is intended to be used precisely in cases like this one before us," ACRI reportedly wrote.
The State Prosecutor's Office replied to ACRI, claiming that opening disciplinary proceedings against Eliyahu had been slowed because of a criminal investigation on the same charges. That criminal investigation was closed in 2012 over difficulty in proving the charges – and the reluctance of the state to say that rabbinic rulings that incite hatred against Arabs should be classified as a crime.
In what is only one in a line of examples of Eliyahu’s racist behavior, Eliyahu and 50 other rabbis issued a ruling forbidding Jews from selling or renting homes to non-Jews. The wording, distribution and use of the ruling by Eliyahu and his associates made it clear the non-Jews they were targeting were Israeli Arabs, primarily university-level students who were students at the medical school in Sefat.
The ruling led to harassment of Jewish landlords who rented to Arab students and racist harassment of the Arabs.
“The moment you make room for an Arab among us, it takes him five minutes to begin doing what he wants," and that "expelling Arabs from Jewish neighborhoods is part of our strategy,” Eliyahu said at the time.