MK, Activists Demand Probe Into Rabbi Who Banned Employing Arabs

Al-Sana calls comments of top settler rabbi 'discriminatory and illegal, reminiscent of darkest regimes.'

An Arab MK and a group working for Arab-Jewish reconciliation Monday urged the attorney general to order an investigation against a prominent settler rabbi who issued a halakhic ruling stating that Jewish law forbids employing Arabs or renting homes to them.

The ruling was issued five days ago by the chairman of the Yesha rabbinical council and chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Rabbi Dov Lior.

In an interview published by "Eretz Israel Shelanu" (Our Land of Israel), to be distributed this Saturday in various synagogues, Lior said that "since this is a matter of endangering souls, it is clear that it is completely forbidden to employ them and rent houses to them in Israel. Their employment is forbidden not only at yeshivas, but at factories, hotels and everywhere."

In his request to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, MK Taleb Al-Sana said: "These comments are discriminatory and illegal... We are not surprised by these words and by the harsh words of the extreme right."

"It's a shame that a rabbi speaks like this, especially since the Jewish nation suffers from anti-Semitism," Al-Sana added. "These words remind us of the darkest regumes."

The Abraham Fund Initiatives, a group working for Arab-Jewish co-existence, also urged Mazuz to order an investigation into Rabbi Lior's remarks, and to consider suspending him from his post.

Avraham Fund Director Amnon Be'eri-Sulitzeanu wrote that in view of "the words of incitement which Rabbi Lior published, and in view of the public position he holds, I ask that you order an investigation and weigh the possibility of suspending him from his post until the probe is completed."