Safed Police Asked to Investigate anti-Arab Leaflets

Last month, group of prominent rabbis, including chief rabbi of Safed, signed call urging Jews to refrain from renting apartments to Arabs.

The deputy state attorney general asked Safed police on Sunday to open a criminal investigation into leaflets distributed throughout the city which were inflammatory against Arab residents.

Among the words printed on the leaflets were accusations that Safed's mayor, Ilan Shohat, was trying to establish a refugee camp for Arab "sadists and mentally ill."

The request to open a criminal investigation was made at the behest of the attorney general, as the leaflets incited racism and insulted a public worker.

Charges of inciting racism and violence were also brought against a 17-year-old resident of the city on Sunday by the Northern District Prosecutor's Office.

The indictment sheet revealed that the teenager had participated in a protest two weeks prior, supporting a group of rabbis' call to not rent apartments in the city to Arab residents. The boy had allegedly shouted "death to Arabs" and other derogatory epithets during the demonstration and threw rocks at the apartments of Arab students in the area.

Last month, a group of 18 prominent rabbis, including the chief rabbi of Safed, signed a call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

According to a report, which first appeared on Channel 1 television, most of the signatories were from Safed, a city that has seen an increase in its Arab student population that is enrolled at the town's local college.

The rabbis' letter, which was originally published months ago, urges Jewish owners of apartments to reconsider renting their properties to Arabs since it would deflate the value of their homes as well as those in the neighborhood.

The rabbis also urge neighbors of anyone renting or selling property to Arabs to caution that person. After delivering the warning, the neighbor is then encouraged to issue notices to the general public and inform the community.

There are currently 1,350 Arab students (out of a total student body of 2,200 ) matriculating at the Academic College in Safed. The increased demand for rented apartments prompted the rabbis to issue their call.