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article imageMass rally against rabbis' letter in Jerusalem Special

By Alessandro Di Maio     Dec 11, 2010 in World
Jerusalem - Hundreds of people took to the streets of Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon to protest against rabbis who invited Israelis to not sell or rent apartments to non-Jewish people.
The demonstration was organized by civic right and peace movements and supported by the Israeli most important leftist political party, Meretz. It took place in front of the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem.
The protest was against the open letter written and signed by around 50 rabbis that invites Jewish people to don’t sale or rent houses, apartments or other real estate to non-Jewish people living in Israel.
The letter warns that "who sells or rents them a flat in an area where Jews live causes great harm to his neighbours. The rabbis motivated the letter saying that: “it is forbidden in the Torah to sell a house or a field in the land of Israel to a foreigner”.
“Israel is a land for Jewish only”, said rabbi Yosef Shainin. For the rabbis the goyim - as in Hebrew people call the gentiles, those who are not Jewish - have a different lifestyle that can corrupt Jewish.
“Apparently religious, the issue is just politics”, says Matthew a young Jewish guy met during the protest. “Those rabbis are trying to do everything, even proposing racist incitements, to defend the Jewish character of the State of Israel”, continues.
President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the letter saying that “it weakens Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State”. In these hours the rabbinical authority of Israel invited the rabbis to revoke their support to the letter.
Not distant from the Great Synagogue a few people were demonstrating their support to the rabbis’ document. Shlomo is one of them. He is a settler living in East Jerusalem and says: “it seems evident that who supports Arabs - as he calls the non-Jewish - ignore the fact that the Palestinian National Authority does not allow Palestinian to sales houses to us [Israeli]. If someone will do it the PNA will punish him with the death penalty”.
The demonstration ended peacefully even if moments of tension became evident when the two protesters met. At that point the Israeli police inviting them to calm down.
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