Sephardi Chief Rabbi Says non-Jews Forbidden From Living in the Land of Israel

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef argues that Jewish law prohibits non-Jews from living in Israel unless they have accepted Noachide laws, adding that some non-Jews live in Israel to serve the Jewish population.

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Israel's Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, 2015.
Israel's Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, 2015.Credit: Lior Mizrahi
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Haaretz

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said Saturday night that many non-Jews should be forbidden from living in the Land of Israel according to Jewish law.

In a recording of Yosef’s weekly Saturday night lecture obtained by Channel 10, the rabbi can be heard saying, “According to Jewish law, it’s forbidden for a non-Jew to live in the Land of Israel – unless he has accepted the seven Noachide laws.”

“If he’s not willing to accept one of them, [which is] not to commit suicide, if he’s not willing to accept this, you send him to Saudi Arabia,” Yosef continued, apparently referring to suicide attackers.

The seven Noachide laws include prohibitions on idolatry, blasphemy, murder, illicit sexual relations, stealing and eating the limb of a living animal, plus a positive commandment to establish court systems.

“If our hands were strong, if we had governing power, then non-Jews shouldn’t live in the Land of Israel,” Yosef added. “But our hands aren’t strong. We’re awaiting our righteous Messiah, who will be the true and complete redemption, and then they’ll do this.”

The reason some non-Jews are allowed to live in Israel, Yosef continued, is to serve the Jewish population. “Who will be the servers? Who will be our assistants? Therefore, we leave them here in the land,” he said.

Two weeks ago, Yosef sparked a storm when he used his weekly lecture to discuss the recent wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks.

“If someone is coming with a knife – it’s a commandment to kill him,” Yosef said. “If someone is coming to kill you, kill him first. Don’t start being afraid of all kinds of ... that they’ll make a court case against you afterward, or that some [Israel Defense Forces] chief of staff will come and say something different.”

“This also deters them,” he added. “The moment a terrorist knows that if he comes with a knife, he won’t return alive, this will deter them. Therefore, it’s a commandment to kill him.”

In that lecture, Yosef was responding to remarks made by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot last month. During a meeting with students in Bat Yam, Eisenkot was asked by one student about the army’s rules of engagement. The student charged that these rules endanger the soldiers. But Eisenkot said the rules are satisfactory as they are, adding, “The IDF can’t speak in slogans, like ‘If someone is coming to kill you, kill him first.’ I don’t want a soldier to empty a clip into a girl with a pair of scissors.”

Several Knesset members from the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi parties criticized Eisenkot for that statement.

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