Mr. Prime Minister, Douse the Flames of Racism

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In this op-ed from Haaretz, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Researcher Adv. Amir Fuchs assert that Prime Minister Netanyahu was right to condemn a letter by rabbis forbidding the rental of property in Israel to Arabs, and call on him to prevent the passage of a bill that would allow small Jewish communities to exclude Arabs from living in their midst.

"How would we feel if we were told not to sell an apartment to Jews?" asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [speaking at the National Bible Contest for Adults]. "We would protest, and we protest now when it is said of our neighbors." He added: "Such things cannot be said, not about Jews and not about Arabs. They cannot be said in any democratic country, and especially not in a Jewish and democratic one. The State of Israel rejects these sayings." ("Netanyahu slams top rabbis' call to forbid renting homes to Arabs," Haaretz, Dec. 8 )


The prime minister spoke properly and correctly when he came out against the racist, despicable call by municipal chief rabbis not to sell or rent apartments to Arabs. But if the legislation concerning community admission committees' right to accept or reject potential members passes its upcoming second and third readings - the message promoted by those rabbis will receive additional validation from the Knesset. If they don't vigorously oppose that bill and try to prevent its passage, the Knesset, the government and the prime minister will in essence be saying that words are one thing, but deeds are another.