Over 750 rabbis and cantors of all denominations signed a letter urging their Israeli colleagues to speak out against a ruling by 39 municipal rabbis banning renting to non-Jews.
Israel's attorney general is checking whether 39 municipal rabbis who ruled that Jews should not rent to non-Jews broke the law. "The attorney general thinks the statements attributed to the rabbis are very problematic in several aspects and apparently - at least as far as public officials are concerned - are inappropriate public conduct," Ha'aretz on Friday quoted Yehuda Weinstein's office as saying.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted a ruling by dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis that forbids renting homes to gentiles, and more specifically to Arabs.
A federal court trial, alleging that the Orthodox Jewish owners of a Pico-Robertson building evicted a tenant because he shared his apartment with a non-Jew, is scheduled to open in Los Angeles next week.
The suit by Lawrence "Chaim" Stein alleges that he was evicted in 2004 by the board of Torat Hayim, a nonprofit that is best known for its Pico-Robertson school and synagogue, but that also manages a handful of apartments.
Stein's central piece of evidence in the suit is a voice mail left on his phone answering machine by Michael Braum, one of the suit's defendants and the pro bono manager of the apartment in the 8800 block of Alcott Street.
"I can't believe you rented to a goy," says the voice on the tape, which Braum has acknowledged as his in a deposition.
"Two days after that, we get an eviction notice," Stein said.
Rejecting tenants based on religion is illegal. Braum noted in an interview that Torah Hayim's tenants include non-Jews. He insisted that the issue was not religion, but that Stein unilaterally changed terms of the lease.