JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s attorney general has opened a criminal investigation on suspicion of incitement to racism against the chief rabbi of Safed.
The probe of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who signed a religious ruling against renting apartments to non-Jews, stems from anti-Arab comments he made several months ago during media interviews, according to reports. Numerous complaints have been lodged with the attorney general’s office over the comments.
Eliyahu reportedly said that "Arab culture is very cruel" and "Arabs have a different codes and norms that have become ideology. Such as the agricultural thefts, which have become part of Arab ideology." Also, "A Jew should not run away from an Arab. A Jew should chase away Arabs," and "Expelling Arabs from Jewish neighborhoods is part of the strategy."
Eliyahu signed a rabbinic letter in October 2010 calling on Jews not to rent or sell apartments to non-Jews. It is believed that the letter, which was signed by 50 rabbis, was directed against Arab college students in Safed.