Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Fair and Balanced Clergy?

Our blog friend Yaakov Kirschen, the cartoonist of Dry Bones, somehow always manages to pithily capture irony with a few picture boxes and captions. Recently newspapers in Israel and around the world trumpeted what they described as the latest example of racist discrimination in Israel, a letter signed by some municipal rabbis condemning the rental or sale of apartments in Jewish neighborhoods in Israel to Arabs. The letter was immediately condemned by two of the most prominent rabbis and decisors of halacha (Jewish law) in the haredi community, the centenarian sage Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman. Rav Elyashiv showed that age has not dulled his sense of humor, quipping "I've said for some time that there are rabbis who must have their pens taken away from them."

Dry Bones notes that a similarly forthright condemnation of discrimination has not come from the Moslem clergy of Jordan or Yehuda and Shomron ("the West Bank"), where the penalty for selling land to Jews is capital punishment, and the penalty is carried out. Indeed, just this past September the Palestinian Authority confirmed the policy, describing the sale of land by Arabs to Jews as "high treason."


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