ADL: Israeli Rabbis' Petition Against Non-Jews Is "Blatant Discrimination"

Jerusalem, December 7, 2010 … Calling it a "perversion of Jewish and democratic values," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned a petition signed by dozens of rabbis in Israel prohibiting their followers from renting homes to gentiles.

ADL's Israel Office issued the following statement:

It is outrageous and unacceptable that rabbis across Israel are promoting blatant discrimination against non-Jews. The State of Israel was established in the wake of the most horrific expression of hatred to be a Jewish and democratic state. All citizens of Israel are equal under the law and should be treated with respect by their fellow citizens.

It is extremely disturbing to hear religious leaders – who are supposed to represent and uphold Jewish values – promote such a prejudicial course for Israeli society. That many of these rabbis are state employees makes their action that much more troubling.

We thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for his strong denouncement of this statement and we call on religious leaders to publicly condemn this perversion of Jewish and democratic values, and stand up for the ideals on which Israel was founded.

Among the dozens of rabbis who signed the petition are chief municipal and other top national rabbis. The episode is the latest incident in a disturbing trend inIsraelin which rabbis have called on Jews to refuse to rent apartments to others based on ethnic or religious differences.