New Article: Brody, The Dispute over the 2010 Safed Ban on Selling Land to Israeli Arabs

Brody, Shlomo M. “When Political Ideology Meets Jewish Law: The Dispute over the 2010 Safed Ban on Selling Land to Israeli Arabs.” En Route, Journal of the Aspen Center for Social Values (March 2015): 18-21.

 

URL: http://www.theaspencenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/March-2015.pdf (pages 18-21 on PDF file)

 

Excerpt

More fundamental critiques, with which I identify, came from other segments of the religious Zionist camp. Rabbi Hayim Druckman, head of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva, contended that one may prohibit real estate deals with “enemies of the state.” Yet it remains unacceptable to issue a blanket prohibition against all Gentiles, including many loyal citizens, such as college students, IDF veterans, and health care providers.

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein of Yeshivat Har Etzion launched a more trenchant critique, contending that the Safed rabbis had greatly oversimplifed Jewish law. It remains unquestionable, he noted, that there is a halakhic basis for prohibiting the sale of land to Gentiles within Israel. Yet, as we saw, a few figures limited the prohibition to the seven Canaanite nations, while many other scholars applied different dispensations to the rule, including a strong albeit not exclusive tradition – originating with the medieval school of the Tosafists – that severely narrowed this and similar laws. ese points and others were made years earlier by Rabbi Hayim David HaLevi in sweeping essays that presented a Jewish legal stance in tune with democratic values (Aseh Lekha Rav 4:1, 8:68, 9:30).

In short, genuine political problems may exist in various parts of the country. But the solutions lie in education and political wisdom, not in overreaching legal statements that distort – and disgrace – Jewish law and its adherents.

 

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