All dogs are bad and their owners accursed, Israeli city’s rabbis rule
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Barking mad

All dogs are bad and their owners accursed, Israeli city’s rabbis rule

Religious edict in haredi town of Elad says canines are forbidden because they bark at people and may scare them: ‘And because of its bark it is a bad dog even if does not bite’

A puppy dog looks into the camera in Germany, July 12, 2019. (Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images via JTA)
A puppy dog looks into the camera in Germany, July 12, 2019. (Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images via JTA)

JTA — More than a dozen rabbis from the city of Elad near Tel Aviv issued an edict declaring all dogs bad and warning residents that keeping them will make them accursed.

The edict, dated June 14, contains the signatures of all the Sephardic rabbis in Elad, a city of about 46,000 residents where most of the population is Haredi Orthodox, and the city’s chief rabbi, Mordechai Malka, the news site bhol reported Friday.

“We have heard and have seen that lately, a serious phenomenon has spread in our city Elad, in which young boys and children walk around publicly with dogs. This is strictly forbidden, as explained in the Talmud and by the Rambam, anyone raising a dog is accursed and especially in our city where many women and children are afraid of dogs,” the anti-canine edict states.

The rabbi of neighboring Holon, Avraham Yosef, is quoted as writing: “I do not find any grounds for permitting any dog whatsoever in any manner.”

A professional dog ‘walker’ biking with his clients on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv (Nati Shochat/Flash 90)

The term “bad dog” means “any dog, for it barks on whomever it does not know and because of its bark it is a bad dog even if does not bite,” the edit also states. People who keep dogs for medical needs should appear before the local rabbinical court so it may rule on their matter, the edict says.

The authors’ interpretation of references to dogs in Judaism is strict compared to other readings by Israeli Orthodox chief rabbis.

Uziel Elyahu, the chief Orthodox rabbi of the northern municipality of Misgav, in 2002 ruled that keeping guard dogs is allowed, as well as guide dogs and ones kept “to develop a person’s emotions.”

Elad was established in 1998. More than half of its population is below 18.

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