Chief rabbi: Non-Jews shouldn’t be allowed to live in Israel

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef says gentiles who don’t take on seven Noahide Laws should be ‘expelled to Saudi Arabia’

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said that non-Jews should not live in the Land of Israel if they do not abide by a set of seven laws mandated by Judaism.

“According to Jewish law, gentiles should not live in the Land of Israel,” Yosef said Saturday in a sermon. “If a gentile does not agree to take on the seven Noahide Laws, we should send him to Saudi Arabia. When the true and complete redemption arrives, that is what we will do.”

The only reason non-Jews were still allowed to live in the Jewish state was the fact that the Messiah had yet to arrive, he said. “If our hand were firm, if we had the power to rule, that’s what we should do. But the thing is, our hand is not firm, and we are waiting for the Messiah,” he added.

Yosef added that gentiles who do agree to take on the Noahide Laws — a basic moral code that includes prohibitions on denying the existence of God, blasphemy, murder, illicit sexual relations, theft, and eating from a live animal, as well as a requirement to instate a legal system — will be allowed to remain in the land and fulfill roles reserved for gentiles in the service of Jews.

Like his late father, the legendary Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Yitzhak Yosef has sparked controversy with his statements. Two weeks ago he said Israelis should kill life-threatening knife-wielding terrorists without fear of the law.

“If a terrorist shows up with a knife, it is commanded [by Jewish law] to kill him,” Yosef said at the Yazadim Synagogue in Jerusalem.

“You shouldn’t be afraid,” he insisted, quoting the ancient rabbinic exhortation, “He who comes to kill you, arise to kill him [first].”

Yosef then cautioned Israelis to not be concerned by what he suggested were the vicissitudes of judges or generals. When faced with an armed assailant, “Don’t start worrying that someone will take you to the High Court of Justice, or that some [IDF] chief of staff will say otherwise.”

He went on to warn against killing a terrorist who no longer posed a threat, however, saying the not-yet-arrived Messiah was the only arbiter who could sentence a non-threatening enemy to death.

In early 2015, the rabbi came out strongly against smartphones and recounted an incident in which he submerged such a device in water.

When the phone rang during a class he was delivering, Yosef told its owner, a student, to bring a bowl of water, he said. “He went to bring a bowl of water, and put it on the desk. I put it inside, it bubbled and was gone. The phone was gone,” he recalled.

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