Protesters rally against rabbinic ruling


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Protesters rallied in Jerusalem against a rabbis’ ban on renting apartments to Arabs.

About 150 demonstrators took up positions Wednesday night across from the Great Synagogue to protest the rabbinic ruling, which was issued Tuesday by dozens of Israel’s municipal chief rabbis.

"Racism is blasphemy" and "Rabbis’ letter — public blasphemy" read the signs carried by some of the protesters.

"You who have put your name on this letter, and all your supporters, you the leaders of nationalist, fundamentalist religious movements, you cannot claim that you would remain silent if the same were done to our Jewish brethren," former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg said at the rally, Ynet reported. "This is not a religious issue, this is an issue of humanity; no man should be allowed to speak in this way."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the rabbis’ ruling. Israeli civil rights organizations and Knesset members criticized the ruling and called for the rabbis who signed to be fired from their jobs. Municipal chief rabbis’ salaries are paid by the state.

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