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New racist rabbinical letter warns against dating Arabs

Poll finds half of the Jewish public in Israel supporting the ruling against renting homes to Arabs

As if the Rabbis’ edict against renting homes to Arabs wasn’t enough, a new letter, made public yesterday, has some 30 well-known wives of Orthodox Rabbis warning Jewish girls against dating Arabs or even working with them.

Ynet reports:

The letter stated that “there are quite a few Arab workers who use Hebrew names. Yusuf becomes Yossi, Samir becomes Sami and Abed becomes Ami. They seek your proximity, try to appeal to you and give you all the attention you could ask for, they actually know how be polite and act making you believe they really care…but their behavior is only temporary.

“As soon as they have in you in their grasp, in their village, under their complete control – everything becomes different. Your life will never be the same, and the attention you sought will be replaced with curses, physical abuse and humiliation.”

The letter further stated, “Your grandmothers never dreamed that one of their decedents would, by one act, remove future generations from the Jewish people. For you, for future generations, and so that you will never have to endure the terrible suffering, we appeal to you, begging, pleading, praying: Don’t date them, don’t work where they work and don’t perform National Service with them.”

One of the names on the letter is that of Nitzhia Yosef, the wife of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef and daughter-in-law of Shas’ spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The notion that Arabs change their names in order to seduce Jewish girls is not new. It was a common talking point by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, the ultra-right leader and founder of JDL who was kicked out of the Knesset for his racist platform. At the time, Supreme Court Justice Meir Shamgar wrote that the actions of Kahane remind us “the worst persecutions in Jewish history” (as Ariana Melamed noted, Hitler made similar accusations in chapter 11 of Mein Kampf: “With satanic joy in his face, the black-haired Jewish youth lurks in wait for the unsuspecting girl whom he defiles with his blood, thus stealing her from her people.”)

Rabbi Kahane was expelled for public life back in the eighties, and Israel today is a very different place. A recent poll by the Harry S. Truman institute in the Hebrew university had 44 percent of the Jewish population in Israel supporting the Rabbis letter that forbid renting homes to Arabs (the wives’ letter was published after the poll was conducted). As I reported last year, the municipality of Petah Tirva, a Tel Aviv suburb, even formed a special unit that would “locate and help girls that date Arabs.

Last year, residents of a Jewish neighborhood found the following flyer in their mailbox. It reads: “This Arab, which works at the Zil Ve-Zol grocery store in Romema [Jerusalem] is dangerous for the daughters of Israel, he violates Jewish girls!!!”

At the time, some people have seen this as an isolated incident. Today, it’s clear that racism against the Arab minority became a political norm.

As Yossi Gurvitz wrote, many in the Israeli leadership, including PM Netanyahu himself, made their political fortune on incitement and hate-talk. It’s very unlikely that they will take action against the Rabbis’ wives, just as they didn’t take action against their husbands – most of them civil servants, making their living of taxpayer money. The grim news is that Israel doesn’t have a leader that would send the National Guard to Little Rock or the FBI to Mississippi. Instead, we have our KKK high priests serving at our synagogues, and our George Wallaces at the Knesset.

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    1. Ben Israel

      It is interesting to note that Islam forbids Muslim women to marry or date non-Muslim men. This is the background for many of the “family honor killings” that are prevalent in the Muslim Middle East. If you were to go to any Islamic leader and ask if, in the interest of universalism, Muslim women should be permitted or even encouraged to date non-Muslim men, I am sure they would consider the idea outrageous, just like the Jewish religious leaders who are warning against Jewish girls dating non-Jewish men. Is this racism?

      Reply to Comment
    2. @BenIsrael: I must have missed the announcement saying that every time an orthodox jew is accused of doing something crazy, the response is: muslims are racist.
      Of course its racism. the only difference is that this racism is being published in our name, with our money, by our politicians.
      im sure the human rights groups in saudi arabia are looking forward to your arrival there to help them with issues of islam-abuses-of-human-rights since you seem to be incredibly up to date about it.
      Yes its racism, and even more, its CHAUVINISM.

      Reply to Comment
    3. anti-Israeli

      Hi Tahel

      Very well said.

      Nevertheless, I worry that while this sort of thing is (rightfully) condemned as extremism, a different measure applies when our Jewish mothers openly shudder at the thought of us dating a gentile (let alone an ARAB). This we chalk up to our charming and generally well-intentioned Jewish quirks. I see these scenarios however as intimately related. We really need to interrogate jewishness in a deep sense and be willing to jettison those aspects of it that are contrary to our moral sense. The question is how much of being Jewish can survive this interrogation? Can we continue to celebrate “the angel of death passing over Jewish homes to kill the first born Arab child” year after year and affect innocence? What would we say if Arab families celebrated such an event? Would we not react with outrage and revulsion? If only we could call out a few obvious bigots and be done with it. I think our problems go much much deeper.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben Israel

      Actually, there are Muslim religious figures and politicians and professors who get YOURS and my Israeli tax money and also teach racism, yet I see no one is relating to this here.
      Fighting against racism and anti-democratic practices in Israel is certainly a worthy cause, but last time I noticed, the large majority of the population of Israel is Hebrew speaking, including much of the Arab population. Yet, this 972 site is in English. Right at this moment, there are 17 headlines posting, almost all of them decrying Israel as being “racist” or “anti-democratic”. Since this is in English, the target audience is not the Israeli public. It must be directed to people outside Israel.
      What is the purpose of this, then? To blacken Israel’s reputation around the world?
      I am sure everyone knows that Arab society with its clan divisions is far more racist than Israeli society is, yet this is ignored here. By not pointing out the problem of racism of ALL populations in the country, in a language not native to the country, I can only come to the conclusion that there is a larger, global POLITICAL agenda in these postings, and not a real concern about improving the situation.
      What I keep hearing from the “progressives” in Israel in places like the Ha’aretz newspaper is despair at the fact that the majority of the population does not accept the “progressive” agenda, particularly as reflected in the Knesset and government coalition, so increasingly there is a demand that someone on the outside, Obama, the EU or others come in and somehow intervene to force Israel to do what they want. It seems that these postings are actually seen to be ammunition in that struggle. That is why I believe it is important to tell the WHOLE story, to show that the Middle East is a place with serious problems of lack of tolerance for minorities and the Jews are NOT the primary source for this problem, and that people outside Israel who want to improve the situation can not focus only on Israel because by doing so they are only emboldening the anti-peace forces which are perceived to be increasing their influence in recent years.

      Reply to Comment
    5. personally, just from seeing how most of my friends react to me posting articles from this website on facebook (and my general impression of ppl around me) it seems that Israeli society is no different than any other on earth. its just that looking in on this kind of behavior from the inside is much harder for thinking and feeling people.
      I remember when we were taken in high school to visit Auschwitz and we saw some houses right on the other side of the camp and we asked ourselves how could ppl let this happen? they knew, they saw. but they completely disassociated themselves from it.
      same thing is happening in Israel today. A general disassociation and alieation of anyone who is even slightly different (arabs, migrants, even women).
      The information ppl receive is manipulated (though i dont think anyone can claim they havent seen or heard at least some of the things happening, but for that there’s always an excuse), we’re educated from childhood to be in a constant state of panic and fear and this causes an incredible alienation of the palestinians. most Israelis have never met a palestinian but if u ask them they’ll be able to give u a head-to-toe description.
      its partly the “jewish arrogance” we get from our surroundings- we tell ourselves that we’re better and ‘chosen’ and the world generally treats us that way. Its also education and the tribal-type-behavior that goes on.
      From what i see, outrage doesnt make the bad feeling of witnessing such things go away. Joining grassroots and getting to know “the other side” does. It gives a better sense of humanity. at least to me.

      Reply to Comment
    6. anti-Israeli

      What a load of Israeli vomit.

      This site has, to its enormous credit, posted article after article, video after video after video of the Israelis terrorizing Palestinian citizens, bulldozing their homes, bombing hospitals with phosphorus, uprooting olive groves–the settler riff raff beating and terrorizing the citizens, the land theft, the humiliation and relentless abuse.

      You have videos of the Arabs engaged in this behavior? Swell. Start your own site and post it.

      You’re a cheap liar and a disgrace to Jewish people everywhere.

      Reply to Comment
    7. anti-Israeli

      Hi tahel

      My last post was obviously intended for Ben Israel.

      I do however take issue to some extent with your characterization of Israeli avoidance of the Palestinian reality. During Operation Cast Lead, the Israelis pulled up lawn chairs to better observe the carnage. I don’t think israelis are ‘just like people everywhere.’ I think that they have become a Nazified society. The US suffered from this viral strain during the Vietnam war, though the opposition to it here was pretty fierce and widespread. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    8. anti-Israeli

      ..a little ps vis a vis Auschwitz.

      It’s one thing to turn your back on such horrifying atrocities, as many Germans undoubtedly did. It’s quite another to openly applaud them, as the Israelis so often do. My own impression of Netanyahu’s election victory is that the Israeli public found the Gaza massacre insufficient to satisfy their bloodlust. They felt short-changed that the Palestinians weren’t exterminated. They needed someone MORE criminally insane and indifferent to human life than Barack and Livni. Enter Bibi.

      Reply to Comment
    9. @BenIsrael:
      this notion that activists and journalists are “blackening israel’s name in the world” is a huge problem in the Israel media today.
      you hardly see any of the stories you read about here, being posted on ynet or nrg because in israel we’re educated that we’re all in this together and we have to stick together and there are two sides and we need to chose one and you’re either with us or against us.
      The people writing here don’t make this stuff up.
      The govt. of israel is a body of educated people that make decisions. those decisions and their execution is the reason israel is portrayed the way it is internationally. its mostly negative because most of those decisions aren’t positive.

      I don’t work for 972 but seems to me that they weren’t really going for becoming the new ynet. they’re simply helping complete the news picture.
      and by the way, every major israeli paper online has an english version today, should that be canceled so that people on the outside can’t read the less-positive things happening in israel?

      every group that supports racism should be dealt with- muslim or jewish or whatever. just like every govt. should be held accountable for its actions- north korea, afghanistan, finland, israel. even if as citizens of that country its sometimes more than unpleasant to hear about things the govt. does “for us”.

      Reply to Comment
    10. @anti-israeli:
      i look at my siblings that are currently going to school in israel- the history books they’re studying, the news they’re watching and hearing, the movies, the books, the advertisements. i dont believe they were ever really given the chance to make a moral decision about any of this.
      they had never met palestinians, they never heard of the green line, no one ever told them that the whole history education about the european jews running to an “empty land”, well, that it wasn’t really an empty land.
      12 years of israeli eduction leave u knowing the “machtarot” backwards and the number of jews hitler was after in estonia. not much more.
      its hard for me to blame them supporting the flattening of gaza, when this is all they’ve been exposed to.
      on the other hand, after i introduced them to some movies, and history books and even some israeli arabs and palestinians- it was remarkable to see the change. its as if “the other side” was literally “brought to life” or in the very least transformed from “crazy jew hating terrorist” to “human being, my age, looks like me, living under impossible conditions im creating for him”.
      i wouldnt say nazified, i would say ignorant, militaristic and violent (for the exact difference of opinion we have on the norman finkelstein matter 🙂 ) and again, not because they’re inherently flawed, but because generations of israelis are being brainwashed for almost 7 decades.

      Reply to Comment
    11. anti-Israeli


      I hate it when someone makes a smarter post than mine, which i have to admit, I think you have. What you say is undoubtedly true. I suppose I suffer to an extent from that which I condemn–the natural inclination achieve moral clarity even when the truth of the situation is not so clear.

      I was quite moved by the short film about girls in the IDF called “To see if I’m smiling.” I wish more israelis were outraged at how their government is destroying the lives of its own kids, forcing them into hideous (and totally unnecessary) situations and causing them mental scars from which many will never recover.


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    12. thanks for the recommendation 🙂
      I’ve recently seen this docu and have been recommending it in venues that wont get me arrested by the thought-police next time i try to enter the mother-ship…

      Reply to Comment