30 August 2017

The Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, rules that rape in war is justified

Ellie Tzavieli - the Holocaust survivor who was threatened for defying Eliyahu and renting rooms to Arab students

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed, notorious for incitement against Palestinians.
Just when I’ve taken a vow to abide by the Zionists' International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism (which defines anti-Zionism and support for the Palestinians as ‘anti-Semitic’) along comes Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu.  The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism stipulates that anti-Semitism might be
  • ‘Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
The problem is, what is someone behaves like a Nazi?  Is it still anti-Semitic to call them what they are?  Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is an old favourite.  He is not any common or garden rabbinical Nazi.  

Shmuel is the son of the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Mordechai Eliyahu.  He is also a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, who when it came to racism was no slough.

Mordechai Eliyahu gave a passionate eulogy to the neo-Nazi Rabbi Meir Kahane who was assassinated by a Palestinian in New York in 1990.  He ruled that Jewish settlers in the West Bank could harvest Palestinians' olive trees and steal their crops as the land really belonged to the Jewish people anyway. He told students at the ultra-nationalist Mercaz Harav Yeshiva following an attack that "even when we seek revenge, it is imperative to remember that a thousand Arabs are not worth one yeshiva student." During Operation Cast Lead in Gaza he wrote to the prime minister Ehud Olmert, that there was nothing wrong with indiscriminately bombing and killing Palestinian citizens if this would make the battlefield safer for Jewish soldiers.  Anshel Pfeffer / Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu – an Eloquent Racist

It is a case of like father like son.  Shmuel Eliyahu advocated genocide in Gaza in ‘retaliation’ for the firing of Quassem rockets.  Despite these rockets, which are mainly fired in retaliation for Israel's attacks, killing 44 people over 10 years, compared to 2,200 killed in Operation Protective Edge and another 1,400 in Operation Cast Led,  he said that:

If they don't stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand," said Shmuel Eliyahu. "And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don't stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop."  

Eliyahu Advocates Carpet Bombing Gaza, Matthew Wagner, Jerusalem Post,  May 30, 2007 
Its not a long hop from one million to five or even six million.  There are those who argue that it is ‘anti-Semitic’ to compare Zionism with the Nazis.  But how else can one characterise Eliyahu other than to call him a Jewish Nazi?

None of this has prevented Eliyahu being appointed as the head of Israel’s Red Cross, Magen David Adom.

Shmuel briefly embarrassed the authorities a few years ago when he issued an edict forbidding Jews in Safed to rent or lease accommodation to Arabs.  When the international press got hold of this and made an issue of it, Netanyahu briefly condemned him.  But when the media circus moved on so did Israel’s Zionist establishmen.  Eliyahu remained a paid official of the state, which all Chief Rabbis are and he has continued to enforce his Nazi-style edict. [Nazi Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu - the Plan to Remove Arabs from Safed is Successfully Continuing]

The only Israeli Jew in Safed who stood up to Eliyahu was Eli Tzavieli, a Holocaust survivor, who understood the Nazi implications of forbidding a racial minority from renting property, since it was of course applied to Germany’s Jews. (see below)

Now Eliyahu has excelled himself. He has found a biblical justification for the rape of Palestinian women by soldiers.  It has to be said that he is not the first Zionist creature to advocate rape in war.  That accolade goes to the Israeli ‘academic’ and former colonel, Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer at Bar Ilan, a religious University in Tel Aviv. [see Sussex Friends of Israel Welcome Rape Supporter Mordechai Kedar

Perhaps when Hove MP next goes along to a meeting of the far-Right SFI he might bear in mind what their real attitude to such matters is.

Eliyahu argued, and you can see the whole article below, that Israel’s soldier, when he is away from home fighting the holy war ‘he is enflamed’.  Although ‘It is not proper to think of the Comely Woman – but he is.’

There you have it.  ‘he needs to fight, and you should moralize him!! ... Do not weaken his spirit!!’
Yes I hear you cry, rape is wrong in all circumstances but it is not that simple according to our revered Rabbi (& he is revered – when he was attacked over his edict banning renting land to Arabs hundreds of rabbis leapt to his defence).  Eliyahu explains that:

If you forbid him the Comely Woman, and he is enchanted by wily charms, he’ll think about her constantly, and may reach the point where the People of Israel will be defeated. What would you gain by that? That thousands of Jewish women will be raped by the accursed evildoers.’

So you see.  If the pure Israeli soldier is denied the ‘Comely woman’ he may think of her and forget to fight properly and then Israel may be defeated and thousands of Jewish women may be raped.  Framed like that of course, who would deny that one rape is preferable to thousands of rapes?

Indeed it is really her fault.  She ‘may have prettified herself specifically to entrap him and incriminate him, and may have not).’  So really it is her fault, just like women who wear short skirts.  She prettified herself to entrap him.  So any Palestinian women who are raped can be assumed to have wanted it anyway.

Eliyahu tells us to ‘Pay attention – her life was spared in war!!  She’s not even a war captive!!  He cannot live with her as with a wife, and then sell her as a slave!!  He lets her go!!  Scot free!!  Have you ever heard of such laws, in any country in the world?’ You must admit that there are relatively few countries with laws that allow rape. 

And this kind of argument is common amongst Israel’s pampered religious rabbinate who are paid by the state, revered, given a special position as the arbiters of personal law in Israel.  And then there are fools who parrot that Israel is a democracy!
Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim (left), nominated to become IDF chief rabbi, sits next to his predecessor, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, on April 21, 2016 (Diana Khananashvili/Defense Ministry)
Yossi Gurvitz on August 28, 2017

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is the Rabbi of the town of Safed, and is one of the most notoriously racist rabbis in Israel. Prosecutors twice considered indicting him for breaking the law against incitement, and twice backed down. He has publicly said he will not condemn “price tag” attacks (by settlers on Palestinians), saying “if the government won’t act, then the public should” (Hebrew). His most notorious act was signing a petition demanding no Jew rent or sell apartments to a non-Jew in his town of Safed; 300 rabbis joined the call. While the act was openly racist, and illegal, the Israel law against incitement to racism specifically excludes “religious debate” from the law; thus the case against Eliyahu was closed (Hebrew). Eliyahu’s ongoing racism, however, is likely to have cost him the 2013 election of the office of Chief Sephardic Rabbi, though he came relatively close (he got 49 votes, the winner got 68). Eliyahu, a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, also failed to get elected in 2014 as rabbi of Jerusalem; at the time he was reputed to be the candidate of the Jewish Home (Hebrew).

An Israel blogger, Ruhama Weiss, exposed yesterday (Sunday) an old ruling (from 2002) of Eliyahu regarding the thorny issue of rape during war, the mizvah of the Comely Woman. Those who read Hebrew can read the original here.  Below is a translation of Eliyahu’s reply. Be advised: the text is rather brutal and I endeavored to keep the translation as close as possible to the original.

First, several necessary notes:

1. The Comely Woman issue appears in the Bible in Deuteronomy 21. (“If you notice among the captives a comely woman and desire her, you may take her as your wife.”) However, the Talmudic sages changed the law somewhat; as can be seen in Maimonides (Hebrew) the woman is first raped in the field, and the issue of the ritualistic humiliation takes place after the war.

2. Eliyahu is lying when he says that a Comely Woman is to be released if her kidnapper dislikes her. Perusing the same Maimonides chapter, you find that she is only released if she has converted to Judaism: otherwise, “A Comely Woman who refuses to refrain from idolatry after twelve months is killed.”

3. The current Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Eyal Qarim, was exposed by me as espousing much the same views (though his writing is more elusive and much less brutal) in 2012; and this came close to torpedoing his appointment. Qarim had to recant his views before the High Court of Justice would permit his appointment. The question of whether the rape of gentile women in wartime is permitted is apparently alive and well in some circles.

On to the translation, then. Keep your barf bags handy. Rabbi Eliyahu states:

Regarding this issue of “Comely Woman”, there are two different situations:

– One is in which a man goes to war with supreme holiness, and thereby saving the souls of converts and the like, as is in your quote of the saintly Or Ha’yim.

– Another is that of taking a woman in a storm of passion.

You’re assuming that the majority of the cases are of the second kind, maybe you’re right, and maybe not, and apparently it’s sometimes one way and sometimes the other.

Whether it’s the majority or the minority, your question is: Why permit a bad act because of a person’s weakness? Why not always say: “Better to transgress than to sin willfully”? Should we allow all transgressions?

The answer depends on what case the Jewish people are in. The case we’re talking about is one in which a man is going to sacrifice his life, and everything he has, for others. A battle for life or death.
Should Israel’s fighters fail – the foreigners will come and murder men, women and children. They’ll rape, pillage, and bring about a catastrophe on the whole nation, or a few towns.

If Israel’s fighters succeed – the lives of millions of people will be saved. And evil in the world will be reduced.

In that case, in which the warrior is separated from his wife for long months, and the urges burn in him, he may think of women during the fighting, become lax and fight less well.


Because this specific soldier is that way? Seeing the Comely Woman, he is enflamed!

It is not proper to think of the Comely Woman – but he is.

Now he needs to fight, and you should moralize him!! Do it at home, before the war, not in the middle of the war. Do not weaken his spirit!!

If you forbid him the Comely Woman, and he is enchanted by wily charms, he’ll think about her constantly, and may reach the point where the People of Israel will be defeated. What would you gain by that? That thousands of Jewish women will be raped by the accursed evildoers.

Therefore, the Torah said: in this case, if you’re so enflamed – take the Comely Woman!!

It’s not the best solution.

It may cause division within your house.

It may lead to the birth of a Rebellious Son.

It may bring you to great harm.

But the Torah said: In this case – the Comely Woman is permitted.

The eating of pork was permitted to those who are hungry and need the strength to fight.

The violation of the Sabbath was also permitted, as well as other very important issues, so as to prevent loss of life.

A similar case is what we say nowadays, not to listen to all those “bleeding hearts” who sit at their homes and preach morals to the dedicated IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] soldiers, why did they shoot and accidentally hit a Palestinian child or “the innocents”? Don’t listen to them and don’t listen to all those who judge IDF soldiers for taking a popsicle and not paying a full price, VAT included. Remember that at that hour they gave all that was dear to them for the People of Israel – their lives. And in such an hour, you judge them for nothing, certainly for things lives don’t hang on. All that will be dealt with later, proportionally.

Please remember!!

Even those who, by the Grace of God, came back home alive and well – they, too, sacrificed their lives for the public, and this sacrifice is not lesser than that of those who were killed for the sanctification of God’s Name. Those who returned home, well or wounded – sacrificed their lives!!
Aside from that, see how the Torah kept the honor of the Comely Woman, as well as that of the woman left at home.

The Torah said: you were attracted to beauty – to the Comely Woman? We’ll put you through boot camp!!

Do not marry just the surface beauty, because if you do you would harm yourself, harm this woman, and harm your wife who patiently awaited you at home.

(Don’t pity the Comely Woman – hair and nails grow back quickly, and this is less painful than captivity or death at war.)

If our warrior finds out he became a captive of the Comely Woman (who may have prettified herself specifically to entrap him and incriminate him, and may have not).

If he finds out that he became a captive of surface beauty. If, after her shaving, he calms down and returns to mental health, overcome his urges – then “then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.”

Pay attention – her life was spared in war!!

She’s not even a war captive!!

He cannot live with her as with a wife, and then sell her as a slave!!

He lets her go!!

Scot free!!

Have you ever heard of such laws, in any country in the world?

After all, in the famed United States it was common, up until some 100 years ago (or so) that a master can have intercourse with his black [also possibly: “nigger”] slaves as often as he wanted. Willingly or forcibly – everything was legal!!

Then they would continue to be his humiliated slaves. Then he could show them cruelty and sell them like beasts in the slave market, with their children or without them. He [could also] sell just the children, ignoring the women’s cries.

And they weren’t [even] war captives!!

So it was in the democratic United States a hundred years ago, and so it was in the Torah three thousand years ago.

This is what the Torah teaches: either a wife or a slave!

If a slave – not a sex slave.

If a slave – let her work with dignity.

If you beat her, and break one of her teeth (for instance), she is immediately released to freedom. Did you hear me?!?

My dear boy!

In the US, it was permitted to cut off the limbs of an escaped slave with a knife, and also to… castrate him. That was the law. Unpleasant yet very terrible!!

Therefore, take heed before you question the morality of the Torah.

Remember where you live!!

Also remember that all we said is not in advance, but only in retrospect and only in times of war and only when lives are on the line and only when the urges are burning.

When lives are on the line, you do not educate the soldiers to morality. It’s time to win!!

See also the report in the Times of Israel of 12 July 2016 about the appointment of the Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Defence Forces, Eyal Karim, who also advocated rape in war.  It would seem that raping non-Jews in wartime is seen as perfectly acceptable by large parts of the nationalist Orthodox rabbis.  Lovely people.

IDF taps chief rabbi who once seemed to permit wartime rape

Eyal Karim later retracted remarks; has also said women's enlistment is 'entirely forbidden,' opposes female singing at army events

Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot on Monday nominated a rabbi who once appeared to condone rape during wartime to take over as the IDF’s chief chaplain...  (cont)

Below is the story of a holocaust survivor who defied Rabbi Eliyahu and continued to rent rooms to Arabs in Safed

The Holocaust survivor whose life is in danger again

Eli Tzavieli has been harassed for renting part of his house in Safed to Arabs
Ellie  Tzavieli - the holocaust survivor threatened for renting rooms to Arab students
In the Israeli city of Safed, an 89-year-old man has been accused of treachery for welcoming Arab students. Catrina Stewart reports

Monday 15 November 2010

First they threatened to burn his house down. Then they pinned leaflets to his front door, denouncing him as a Jewish traitor. But Eli Tzavieli, an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor, is defiant. His only "crime" is to rent out his rooms to three Arab students attending the college in Safed, a religious city in northern Israel that was until recently more famous for Jewish mysticism and Madonna.

A campaign waged by Shmuel Eliyahu, the town's radical head rabbi, culminating in a ruling barring residents from renting rooms to Israeli Arabs, means that Safed is fast emerging as a byword for racism.

"I'm not looking for trouble, but if there is a problem, I'll confront it," says Mr. Tzavieli, a Jew who survived Nazi forced labour camps and whose parents perished in Auschwitz. 

"These [tenants] are great kids. And I'm doing my best to make them comfortable."

At an emergency meeting last month, Mr. Eliyahu, the son of a former chief rabbi of Israel, was joined by 17 other religious leaders in warning that the city's 40,000 Jewish residents were threatened with an "Arab takeover."

The declaration appeared to trigger a campaign of harassment against Mr. Tsavieli to pressure him into throwing the students out. When the pensioner paid little heed to his aggressors, he received an anonymous threat to set fire to his house and a vicious poster campaign accused him of "returning the Arabs to Safed."

Mr. Eliyahu, who once advocated the mass slaughter of Palestinians civilians in Gaza to stop the firing of Qassam rockets, declined to be interviewed for this story.

Sprawled over a hilltop in the Upper Galilee, Safed is one of Israel's most picturesque towns, enjoying commanding views over the north of the country. A leading centre for Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism, it is one of Judaism's four holiest towns, and every year draws a diverse celebrity crowd.

In 1948, Safed was a mixed Jewish and Arab Palestinian community, with some 10,000 Palestinians living in the town. As Jewish forces battled for control, the Palestinians fled, including a 13-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, who would later become the Palestinian President.

After Israel's founding, some Palestinians accepted Israeli citizenship and remained in Israel, and now number 1.5 million, a fifth of the country's population.

These days, Safed is home to a large community of ultra-orthodox Jews, who are deeply conservative and observe a strict code of behaviour, including no driving or smoking in public on Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath.

As Mr Tsavieli poses for a photograph outside the entrance to his home in Safed's Old City, a Jewish labourer shouts at him: "I'm warning you, it won't do you any good to attract attention like this."

The pensioner continues to smile, but it's clear that he's a little rattled. Sitting in his leafy courtyard, he talks about his extensive voluntary and social work, including time as a probation officer ("The moment you have a problem, Eli, you just let us know," a former inmate told him after hearing of the threats), and says that he's only trying to do "a good thing."

As he talks, Nimran Grefat, one of his Arab tenants, dashes in to pick up some books for his next class, stopping briefly to chat. "He's a good man, he's like a father to us," Mr Grefat, 19, says later of his landlord. "He told us: 'If someone hurts you, he hurts me.'"

Tension in the city ratcheted up a notch last month after a violent clash between a Jewish mob and Arab students. Thirty or so Jewish youths converged on a building rented to Arab students, throwing bottles and chanting "stinky Muslims" and "death to Arabs." The students retaliated by throwing stones, prompting an Israeli policeman to loose off rounds from his rifle. He was later charged along with a friend for firing live rounds.

Mr Grefat says that he is afraid, and even considered dropping his studies or moving into dorms. Encouraged by Mr Tsavieli to stick it out, he takes basic safety precautions, such as not returning home alone late at night. "I didn't come here to live," he says. "I'm not going to build a family here. I just came for three years to study, after which I'll go back to my village."

The tensions that many hoped were confined to Safed are spreading to other towns, too. The deputy mayor of Carmiel, a mere 30 kilometres from Safed, was recently sacked for anti-Arab statements and for employing a militia to prevent Arabs from entering the city.

Many civil rights defenders have warned that the events in Israel's north are not an isolated phenomenon, but rather a symptom of the growing racism and anti-Arab sentiment sparked by a political shift to the right in recent years.

"The government should be mitigating these tensions, but instead it is escalating them with new laws and a vacuum of decisions," said Ali Haider, a director at Sikkuy, an Israeli organisation committed to civic equality.

Several bills currently making their way through the Knesset have been slammed by liberal commentators as racist or anti-Arab, including a loyalty bill requiring new citizens to swear allegiance to a "Jewish and democratic" Israel. Moreover, small Jewish communities are lobbying to determine just who can and cannot move into their communities, a demand widely interpreted as a move to keep Arabs out.

Israel's firebrand Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has even proposed a population transfer in the event of a peace agreement that would see Israel's Arab citizens placed under Palestinian sovereignty.

These proposals have drawn a barrage of criticism from the left of the political spectrum, but observers say such ideas are moving into the mainstream, as evidenced by robust support for Mr Lieberman and his ultra-nationalist party, Yisrael Beitenu, Israel's third-largest party. Several Israeli commentators have sounded a note of alarm at exclusionary moves, warning that the prevailing trends in Israel are beginning to resemble Nazi-era policies.

"In other countries, in other eras, the selling and renting of homes to Jews was forbidden, and those who violated the ban were penalised harshly. We all remember where it ended up," wrote Ziv Lenchner in an op-ed on Israeli news site Ynet. "Well, do we really remember?"

But that argument cuts little ice in Safed, where many residents feel the 1,350 Arabs studying at the nearby college are an unsettling influence that threatens Safed's religious and Jewish character, not least because of fears of intermarriage.

"I see the Arabs here wearing gold chains, and it looks like Syria," says a young woman, who wears a modest headscarf to cover her hair. "This is an orthodox city, and [that] is impure."

A new medical school is to open in the area early next year, prompting concerns among Jews that it will bring even more Arabs to the town.

Moshe, 35, a music store manager, insists the issue is not one of racism, but that encouraging a large influx of Arabs into the city demonstrates a "blatant disregard" for the existing Jewish community.

"Our experience of Arabs over the last 10 years is terror," he said. "Now they're saying, 'Let us be neighbours.' You don't force peace on people." 

Arabs not allowed in Hochav Yair Tzur’s Country Club – Apartheid? Perish the thought

In the affair over the refusal to admit non-Jews to the country club in Hochav Yair Tzur, you see the realities of Israeli social apartheid and the ingrained racism in Israel.  Structurally Apartheid already exists in relation to residence, employment and education.  When an Israeli Arab applied to join the club, which has good social facilities including a swimming pool, he immediately ran into opposition.  Only a small Jewish child could had no objections!

Those with long memories will remember the bar on Jews joining golf clubs and similar institutions in this country and the United States.  Most of these have now disappeared but in Israel Jewish local government strains every muscle to keep Arabs out.
Swimming pool in the Lev Hamakom country club - the Jewish residents find it 'unpleasant' to have Arabs swimming alongside them
Below is an editorial in Ha’aretz concerning the Jewish town of Kochav Yair Tzur.  In order to keep Arabs out of its country club, the Council kindly amended its laws to distinguish between its own residents (all Jewish) and outsiders.  Nominally this meant Jewish as well as non-Jewish non-residents but in practice, Jews from outside the town are allowed in.

Although Israel has laws banning discrimination in services and goods, just as Britain does.  However it is a law that has as many holes as a colander.  The Knesset kindly passed a law allowing discrimination between a town’s residents and non-residents.  In Israel this is a cover for allowing discrimination against Arabs.
Residents of Umm al-Hiran watch its destruction
Ha’aretz gives the example of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, which Israel demolished in January to make way for the Jewish town of Hiran.  When this issue came up in the High Court the Justices pretended that the present inhabitants of Umm al-Hiran could live in the Jewish town when it was built.  Now it turns out that they can only do so if they are believes in the Torah or a Jewish Israeli! 

One suspects that having found legal fictions in order to disguise the ongoing discrimination against Palestinian Israelis for 70 years, the High Court is not going to reconsider its verdict because of changed circumstances. 

This is why Israel’s High or Supreme Court (the same thing) cannot be seen as a neutral body but is one imbued with the principles and logic of Zionism.

Tony Greenstein
Jewish town of Kochav Yair

Bylaws: No Entry for Arabs

Israel has never ceased to demonstrate creativity when it comes to discriminating against Arab citizens of the state. Hiran and Kochav Yair are just the latest examples

Haaretz Editorial Aug 09, 2017 3:27 AM

Israel has never ceased to demonstrate creativity when it comes to discriminating against Arab citizens of the state. As readers may recall, the state sought to evacuate and demolish the Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran to make way for a new Jewish town called Hiran. In 2015, the High Court of Justice rejected Umm al-Hiran residents’ arguments against their eviction, asserting that the Bedouin would still be able to live in the planned Jewish town. Nor did the fact that the plan for the town included a Jewish ritual bath and a synagogue undermine the principle of equality, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote.
 What drives people from the club isn’t the price, but the Arabs. We came to live in a community. Whether we’re racist or not, it doesn’t matter. The fact is that residents are leaving the community center because of the Arab children. It’s not clear why we can’t express our opinion.”

Country club in Kochav Yair
Even then, it was clear the court was regrettably turning a blind eye to the character of the planned town and of the agencies establishing it. And indeed, it now turns out that among the criteria for admission laid down in the bylaws of the Hiran cooperative association is one requiring an applicant to be “a Jewish Israeli citizen or permanent resident who observes the Torah and the commandments according to the values of Orthodox Judaism” (Tuesday’s Haaretz). In other words, not only is Hiran slated to be inhabited by Jews only, they must also be Orthodox Jews.

This lie, which regrettably gained traction even in the High Court, is additional proof that the only correct and just solution to this affair is to allow residents of Umm al-Hiran to return to their land and live there in peace, rather than being dispossessed in favor of a Jewish town.

Another “Jewish innovation” is an amendment to the law banning discrimination in selling products and services, or in admission to places of entertainment and public venues. Under this amendment, a local government can distinguish between its own residents and those of other towns without this being considered discrimination, if the distinction is intended to allow it to exercise its powers for the benefit of its own residents.
Tira, the Arab village near Kochav isn't quite as salubrious
 This amendment may now play a role in a lawsuit against the town of Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal and the organization that runs the town’s country club. To prevent Arabs from joining the club, its bylaws state that only residents of the town can join. But the fact that in practice, memberships were also sold to Jews who weren’t residents of the town, combined with many statements by residents and members of the town council, show the real intent behind this ban (Or Kashti, Haaretz, August 4).
 'If anyone wants to swim with Arabs, let him take them home. Here there's no place for it,' says resident of Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal

Both Hiran and Kochav Yair are examples of ugly discrimination against Israel’s Arab citizens. The justice system cannot close its eyes and legitimize such discrimination with legal hair-splitting disconnected from the situation on the ground. While Hiran is a town whose very establishment constituted a fundamental injustice, and therefore shouldn’t be permitted, the Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal case merely requires forbidding discrimination and ordering that anyone who wants to join the country club be given an equal right to do so.

There are still "portals" in the world that maintain our connection to the cosmos!

"The above article is Haaretz's lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel

Haaretz Editorial

'If anyone wants to swim with Arabs, let him take them home. Here there's no place for it,' says resident of Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal, echoing local sentiment

Or Kashti Aug 04, 2017 2:48 AM

Lev Hamakom country club, July 2017.  Moti Milrod

For the past seven years the country club in the local council Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal in central Israel has refused to accept Arab members. Yet the community’s Jewish neighbors were welcome to enjoy the club’s three swimming pools, fitness room, lawns and other facilities.

Some 20 percent of the Lev Hamakom country club’s members are from the Tzur Yitzhak community and the West Bank settlement Tzofim, to the east of it.

Following a petition filed by a resident of the nearby Arab village Tira against the club’s policy three years ago, the club recently decided to sanitize the ban: From now on, membership will be restricted to Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal’s residents, who of course are all Jewish, while no outsiders, Jewish or Arab, will be allowed in, the local council decided.

“We don’t want the Arabs to swim with us,” says a Kochav Yair resident. “When they were here, it wasn’t pleasant.”

She finds nothing wrong with banning from the club anyone who doesn’t live in the local council. 

“It’s no big deal if that’s the price our Jewish brothers [outside the local council] have to pay.”

The residents of Tzur Yitzhak and Tzofim agree with her, perhaps because they have other ways of enjoying themselves in the summer. The idea that Jews and Arabs can share the same pool appears to many of them unacceptable.

Lev Hamakom country club, July 2017. Moti Milrod

Israeli Arab applicant turned down
Dr. Ahmed Mansour, an ophthalmologist from Tira, petitioned the Lod District Court three years ago against Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal and the organization operating the country club after his request to buy a club membership for himself, his wife – a physiotherapist in Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital – and their small son was denied. The petition was submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
Mansour said in the petition that there was no swimming pool in Taibeh and Kalansua, the neighboring towns, while the pool in Tira only opens late in the summer.

The court has debated the petition several times but hasn’t reached a decision.

“There appear to be good neighborly relations with Kochav Yair,” Mansour said this week. “My clinic is full of people from there. Many of them shop in our town too. It becomes a problem only when we also want to be in the country club. Suddenly, segregation is required. It’s offensive. I could buy membership to a pool in Kfar Sava despite the distance. But this racism annoyed me. I only want justice.”
“We don’t want the Arabs to swim with us,” says a Kochav Yair resident. “When they were here, it wasn’t pleasant.”

The petition cites a protocol of a council meeting in Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal in 2010, before the decision was made to close the country club to outside residents.

“Would it be possible to market to Tzur Yitzhak the sports center, and then we’ll have fewer minority members?” asked one council member. Another said: “What drives people from the club isn’t the price, but the Arabs. We came to live in a community. Whether we’re racist or not, it doesn’t matter. The fact is that residents are leaving the community center because of the Arab children. It’s not clear why we can’t express our opinion.”

However, according to the document, Arabs comprised only 3 percent of the club’s members.
After that meeting the council decided to close the club to anyone who wasn’t a resident of the community. But later, probably due to the few members who joined, it was reopened to the residents of Tzur Yitzhak and Tzofim, whose children go to school in the local council.

“The admission policy to the club constitutes discrimination based on nationality,” the petition says, “motivated by public pressure to prevent Arabs from the region from becoming members.”

The council’s decision is based on “familiar patterns of segregation in residence and schools, and creates clear discrimination on the basis of nationality,” the petition says.

Council: 'A social-communal consideration'

The local council said in response that the ban wasn’t nationality-based discrimination but “a social-communal consideration based on granting priority to residents, a consideration that is not prohibited by law.”

However, this may not be merely a local issue. Over the years the state has participated in financing the country club, also through the Association of Community Centers.

In March, while the petition was discussed in court, the Knesset passed an amendment to the law banning discrimination in products, services and admission to public places. Under the amendment, the law will not apply to “distinction made by a local council between its residents and those who aren’t, to the extent required to carry out its duties or to operate its powers for its residents’ benefit.”

Following the amendment, the court instructed the parties to update their positions.

At the beginning of June the Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal council discussed the issue. “At the bottom line there are two possibilities,” the council’s legal advisers said. “You can either enable anyone to buy a membership, or restrict it to residents only.”

If membership is available to anyone who is interested, it could cause an “overload.” In this case, limiting membership to residents only falls under the clause of “operating powers for the residents’ benefit,” they said.

One of the council members asked about the current situation, which enables Jews who are not residents of the local council, but whose children study in it, to be members. The legal advisers said “there’s no way to defend such a decision, as it doesn’t comply with the law.”

A non-resident may only enter the country club as a guest of a member who lives in the local council, they said.

'I know discrimination is wrong, but ...'

Residents of Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal appear to agree with this.

“Our first concern is for our children,” a resident said. “I know discrimination is wrong. But we have the right to decide who uses the facilities and who doesn’t, because it’s our tax money. We should close our community completely.”

Another said, “We’re a very tolerant community, but there’s something very aggressive about the Arabs entering the pool with their clothes on. It doesn’t look good. Since we can’t deny only Arabs from being members, the residents of Tzur Yitzhak and Tzofim are harmed. It’s regrettable, but there’s no other way.”

A third resident says, “If anyone wants to swim with Arabs, let him take them home. Here there’s no place for it.”

Only a little girl, still in her bathing suit, disagreed. “They don’t get in anyone’s way. Anyone who wants to should be allowed into the club,” she said.

Some 200 families from Tzur Yigal and Tzofim are club members.

“I totally understand Kochav Yair’s decision,” a Tzur Yitzhak resident said. “Nobody wants Arabs from the whole region to come to his country club. We should focus on building our own pool instead of going to other places.”

“Jews and Arabs aren’t the same thing,” another resident says. “They don’t deserve to swim with us. I’d rather they don’t go in the pool, even if it means I can’t use it.”

Similar sentiments were voiced in Tzofim. “It’s a totally sensible decision,” one settlement resident said. “We’ll manage. At the most we’ll travel a little farther.”

The manager of the country club wrote in a statement to the court that memberships are not sold to residents who are not members of Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal. He told Haaretz that the decision went into effect on July 1.

Last week, outside the country club, a Tzur Yitzhak resident said she and a few of her friends bought membership to the club that day.

A club official who came out asserted: “You’re a Kochav Yair resident.”

“No, I’m not,” the neighbor said. “You never even asked me when I paid for the membership.”

A person who called the club and said he lived in Tira also received details of the membership’s price.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel wrote in the response to the court that “legitimizing closure of public facilities and restricting them to residents only is a social disaster. In Israeli reality, where wealthy communities sometimes border poor ones, such segregation leads to inequality in the access to public resources.”

The association said the Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal local council is interpreting the law in a way that’s opposite to the Knesset’s intent. “Instead of reducing discrimination, it claims the law allows it to exclude anyone who isn’t a resident of the community. If this interpretation is accepted, wealthy communities will be able to close their gates to their less wealthy neighbors who cannot afford parks, sports, culture or entertainment facilities.”

The Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal local council said it “firmly dismisses any attempt to allude to discrimination. The council’s stance is that all the decisions on the issue were made in keeping with the law.”

Or Kashti

29 August 2017

Israel's Nuclear Weapons - Consistency Demands Sanctions

The not so secret Dimona nuclear plant in Israel is a taboo subject [AFP]

Across the globe, headlines pronounced that a "breakthrough agreement" had been reached in Geneva. Iran's atomic ambitions had been curbed in exchange for limited sanctions relief, thus deflating the long-standing military standoff.

The deal hammered out between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia stipulates that Tehran will halt progress on enrichment capacity, stop developing its heavy water reactor at Arak, and open access to international weapons inspection. While this deal paves the way for Iran's reintegration into the family of Western nations, and can therefore be conceived as a real milestone, in terms of the Middle East nuclear problem, any robust agreement,however, will have to include Israel.

Within Israel, speaking about the nuclear programme in Dimona is taboo. Mysteriously, however, there is also a broad-based agreement to keep silent about it in Washington and in most European capitals. Despite claims made by independent analysts that Israel likely has around 80 warheads, and is believed to be the only state in the region that has produced separated plutonium, and possibly highly enriched uranium, the two key ingredients in nuclear weapons. Indeed, it may now have enough plutonium, including the plutonium already in weapons, for up to 200 nuclear warheads.

Creating a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East is actually not a new idea. Ironically, it was first proposed in the United Nations General Assembly in 1974 by no other than the major 'culprit' in the recent fray


The IPFM experts emphasise that Israel's eventual nuclear disarmament would be a necessary condition for any Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone, while regional measures would serve to bring the Middle East closer to that goal, and make the zone more robust. These measures would include stopping the separation of plutonium, a ban on the use of highly enriched uranium or plutonium as fuel, and the end of national enrichment plants.

As the only country in the Middle East with a national civilian enrichment programme, the experts from Princeton suggest that Iran could play a pioneering role precisely by advancing a global shift away from national enrichment plants. Countries in the region with plans to construct nuclear power plants (so far, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt) could join in the management of Iran's enrichment plants and help set the goals for the programme and fund any expansion. This would create a major barrier to Iran using its enrichment plants for making material for a nuclear weapon .

Israel, too, must take initiative to demonstrate that it is seriously interested in a regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction. The experts propose a series of steps: Israel should begin by ending any further production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, declaring the size of its stocks of these materials, and placing portions of its fissile material stocks under IAEA safeguards for elimination. By the time a Middle East zone comes into force, Israel would need to have eliminated all of its nuclear weapons and placed all of its fissile materials under international safeguards - as South Africa did when it gave up its nuclear weapons in the early 1990s.

Regional inspections

To keep everyone honest, the IPFM proposes that discussions be launched among the members of a possible Middle East free zone committee, on the design of regional verification arrangements strong enough so that all countries in the region can have confidence in the absence of secret nuclear weapon programmes, and that countries are complying with the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions. This regional inspection system would be in parallel to the international verification systems associated respectively with the NPT and the Chemical Weapons Convention. There is currently no international system to verify the Biological Weapons Convention.
photograph of some nuclear device that Vanunu supplied
The experience of creating nuclear free zones following the end of the Cold War, suggests that progress can be made in the absence of a larger or more comprehensive settlement of political conflicts and disputes.
Neve Gordon is the author of Israel's Occupation and can be reached through his website.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Source:  Al Jazeera