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Shmuel Eliyahu

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Shmuel Eliyahu

Shmuel Eliyahu (Hebrew: שמואל אליהו‎; b. 29 November 1956 (25 Kislev 5717)) is an Israeli rabbi. He is the Chief Rabbi of Safed, Israel, and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council.

Early life

Shmuel Eliyahu is the son of Mordechai Eliyahu, the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel. He studied at Yeshivat Yerushalayim L’Tzeirim and later at Mercaz HaRav Kook. He served in an Israel Defense Forces combat unit.


After his studies, he was appointed the Chief Rabbi of Shlomi. Only three years later, he was appointed the Chief Rabbi of Safed. In July 2013 he ran for the position of Sephardi chief rabbi of Israel.[1] the Israeli attorney general requested that Eliyahu abandon his candidacy, noting that he had made a number of offensive statements in recent years.;[2] a Member of Knesset (Esawi Frej) submitted an emergency petition to the High Court asking that Eliyahu be disqualified for having made "racist" comments that are "destruct[ive] of values in the State of Israel."[3]

Eliyahu has edited many books, including Halakha books written by his father, the Kol Eliyahu siddur, and the Avihem shel Yisrael series of incredible stories about his father that were revealed after his death.


Carpet bombing

According to a May 30, 2007 report in The Jerusalem Post, Eliyahu advocated "carpet bombing the general area from which the Kassams were launched, regardless of the price in Palestinian life." Eliyahu is quoted saying that "If they don't stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand." And, "if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don't stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop."[4]

State-sanctioned revenge

In March 2008, he called for "state-sanctioned revenge" against Arabs. According to Haaretz, in an article for the newsletter Eretz Yisrael Shelanu ("Our Land of Israel"), Eliyahu proposed "hanging the children of the terrorist who carried out the attack in the Mercaz Harav yeshiva from a tree."[5]

Prime Minister

Eliyahu has called for a "religious" Prime Minister of Israel, saying that earlier prime ministers (presumably referring to Ehud Olmert) had been "without faith... without credibility... [and] without values."[6]

Propaganda pamphlet

Eliyahu was involved in publishing the conspiracy theory pamphlet "On Either Side of the Border" in cooperation with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (The OU asserts that its connection with the pamphlet was unauthorized by senior management).[7] The pamphlet cites the personal account of a recent convert to Judaism who had previously been a member of the Lebanese organisation Hezballah. It asserts that the Pope and the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church help organize tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to wipe out Jews. The pamphlet was distributed to IDF troops.[8] According to Danny Orbach, a Harvard-based Israeli historian, the pamphlet, which was supposedly written by a Lebanese, contains gross factual errors that no Arab could have made. In addition, there are also numerous other blatant geographical and cultural mistakes, proving that the author of the pamphlet is an ultra-orthodox Jew from Israel who knows very little about the Arab world. Orbach's conclusion is that Eliyahu took a part in a forgery, clearly in order to propagate hatred against Arabs and Muslims.[9] Eliyahu failed to answer the accusations, but his spokesmen stressed the authenticity of the pamphlet in a conversation with Haaretz.[8][10] Furthermore, Eliyahu had widely quoted from the pamphlet in a subsequent article.[11]

Renting to Arabs

Main article: December 2010 Israeli rabbi letter controversy

Eliyahu has urged Jewish residents of Tzfat not to rent housing to Arabs, leading to calls for his suspension and for prosecution on grounds of racial incitement.[12][13][14] In July 2012, Israel's Ministry of Justice closed the investigation into allegations of incitement on the grounds of lack of evidence that the statements could be attributed to Eliyahu.[15]

References and footnotes

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