Safed rabbi says struggle to keep the city Jewish moving forward

By Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz – 8 Apr 2011

Chief Rabbi of Safed’s latest statement follows his earlier call for Jews not to sell or rent homes to non-Jews

The chief rabbi of Safed issued a statement this week proclaiming that efforts to keep the city Jewish are beginning to progress and must be widened, though he also added a plea for non-violence in the “struggle.”

“The struggle to preserve the special character of the city of Safed is beginning to bear fruit here and everywhere in the country and it is necessary to continue with this here. It has not stopped with one call and a rabbinical ruling,” wrote Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Safed, in a statement he issued this week under the heading “Continuation of the Rabbis’ Letter on the Issue of Selling Apartments to Gentiles.”

The official letter follows an earlier one in which Eliyahu called for Jews not to sell or rent homes to non-Jews. Racial tensions have risen in recent months with Arab students in the city reporting being attacked and having their property vandalized, including two cars which were torched last month outside the city’s academic college. Anti-Arab posters have also been put up in the city.

In his letter, Eliyahu stressed that “this struggle has nothing to do with racism and hatred. It is aimed in its entirety only at preserving our state as Jewish.”

Eliyahu also called for activists to refrain from violence.

“This struggle must not spill over into violence, which is both negative and interferes with the struggle,” he said. “It is possible to win and it is necessary to win without violence. … It is necessary to see this struggle as action completing the Law of Return and the declaration of a Jewish state, as a continuation of the redemption of lands by the founders of the state and as action completing the government’s decision on Judaizing the Galilee.”

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