Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided Tuesday to open a criminal investigation against Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, for alleged incitement to racism.
The decision to investigate Eliyahu came after he was quoted making several anti-Arab comments in interviews with the media.
Eliyahu was one of 18 rabbis who signed a petition in October 2010, urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews – a move seen as being directed against Arab students enrolled in Safed’s college. Some 50 rabbis eventually endorsed the so-called “rabbis’ letter.”
The criminal investigation opened by Weinstein will not focus on “rabbis’ letter,” however, but rather on personal remarks made by Eliyahu.
After a series of complaints were lodged with the Attorney General’s office regarding Eliyahu’s anti-Arab remarks, Weinstein decided to investigate whether any criminal intention could be found in the remarks.
Eliyahu last year slammed those who have accused him of being a racist, saying that a survey showed that 74 percent of the public supports the letter. He added that he believed the letter had backing from God.