The New Israel Fund, the leading organization committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis, today issued the following statement:
“By condemning in no uncertain terms the rabbis who signed the racist ruling forbidding renting or selling homes to Arabs, Prime Minister Netanyahu demonstrated leadership and respect for basic democratic principles. There can be no room in Israel for blatant racism and discrimination, especially when justified by an extreme fundamentalist understanding of the Torah and of Jewish values.
We urge the Prime Minister to set the processes in motion for an immediate suspension of these municipal rabbis from their duties – and from their tax-supported salaries. As racism and mutual distrust between Jewish and Arab Israelis continue to fester, he should make a dramatic gesture of support for Israeli democracy, for tolerance, and against the idea that a Jewish homeland can have no respect or room for others.
There are many voices of tolerance and understanding in the religious community in Israel, and we at NIF will continue our support for their courageous leadership. We are also grateful for and supportive of the important work done by Israeli human and civil rights organizations in defending the rights of every Israeli, including our long-time grantees the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah.
We ask the American Jewish community and all supporters of Israel to join us in recognizing the importance of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s harsh condemnation of racism and discrimination, and to join us in our longstanding efforts to strengthen human rights and religious pluralism in Israel.”