Michael Bloomberg and Magen David's Anti-Arab Rabbi

Mayor Should Object to Shmuel Eliayhu as Board Head

Getty Images

By Zohar M. Nevo

Published October 15, 2012, issue of October 19, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

When one enters Jerusalem, two structures immediately catch the eye. The first is a digital sign informing the traveler when the next Sabbath begins and ends. The second is a building bearing a sign identifying it as the William H. Bloomberg MDA Jerusalem Station.

The building is the Jerusalem headquarters of Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency ambulance and blood bank service. The Bloomberg Station is a state-of-the-art facility renovated and expanded thanks to a donation made by the family of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and dedicated in October 2011 in memory of Mayor Bloomberg’s father.

Michael Bloomberg
getty images
Michael Bloomberg

At the dedication ceremony, Bloomberg told the audience that his family had been attracted to MDA due to “…its spirit of volunteerism and its commitment to treating all people, of all religions and nationalities, absolutely equally.” Indeed, MDA prides itself on the treatment it provides during emergencies to both Jews and Arabs. It now seems, however, that MDA may need some rescuing of its own.

MDA has recently made a new addition to its ranks, and this time it is not a volunteer seeking to save lives. The ultra-Orthodox community had been critical of what it perceived as inappropriate mixing of the men and women volunteers, with a number rabbis even going so far as to issue an edict forbidding followers from volunteering. In response, MDA agreed to establish a rabbinical committee which would have the authority to dictate religious guidelines for the organization. The chairman of the committee, which started operating in June, is Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed.

Eliyahu is the son of the deceased Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, who was chief rabbi of Israel from 1983 to 1993. In the last decade, it is the younger Eliyahu who has made a distinct, if infamous, name for himself.

In 2002, following a terrorist attack near Safed, Eliyahu called for the expulsion of Arab students from the local college. In a radio interview in 2004 he warned against the seduction of Jewish girls by young Arab men and called upon Jewish apartment owners not to rent to Arabs.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.