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Rabbi Kanievsky Denies Statement About Arabs

April 15, 2008

The following story was reported one month ago by many news agencies, websites and newspapers.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, considered a top Torah sage of the generation in the hareidi-religious community, issued a Jewish legal decision banning the employment of Arab workers by Jews according to the Yom Chadash daily.

The rabbi issued the decision at a meeting with several administrators of yeshivas (seminaries) in Bnei Brak. The administrators each employ an older Arab man who they do not suspect of any involvement in terrorism. The administrators decided, nonetheless to seek halachic (Jewish legal) guidance following reports that the terrorist who carried out the massacre at Jerusalems Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva had been hired as a driver on occasion.

According to Jewish law, it is completely forbidden to hire Arabs, especially in yeshivas, Rabbi Kanievsky said. There is a concern of endangering lives.

The rabbi continued, explaining, After all, we are at war with them&and are there not Jews that can work and make a living?

Asked later if his words should be publicized, Rabbi Kanievsky said: Certainly, according to the News First Class site.

Rabbi Kanievsky went even further, saying that Jews should refrain from employing any non-Jews, not just Muslim Arabs, and instead grant livelihood to Jews, unless there exists a huge disparity between the labor costs.

The rabbi's family told Arutz-7 that the Yom Chadash report is 100% accurate and explained that "although there can be financial justification for hiring foreign workers, G-d forbid should we hire Arabs. We are at war with them."

The report caused an uproar in traditional Jewish communities, as Zionists triumphantly proclaimed that Rabbi Kanievsky, a highly respected Haredi figure, had endorsed the fundamental Zionist position that "we" are at war with the Arabs. Readers of the Jews Against Zionism website questioned us about this, and we responded that indeed "it is the Zionists who are at war with the Arabs, and anyone using the word "we" is identifying himself as a Zionist. We would like to give Rabbi Kanievsky the benefit of the doubt and say that he was misquoted by the reporters."

However, our readers continued to push us on this point, saying that this was reported in all the media and if Rabbi Kanievsky were so grossly misrepresently by them, he should have published a denial.

Seeking to clear up the issue, we wrote Rabbi Kanievsky a respectful letter asking whether he indeed made the controversial statement. His characteristically brief reply was "I did not say this thing."

The cryptic answer leaves it unclear exactly what the rabbi said and what he did not say. However, it is now clear that his words were falsified by the Zionist media, and one can no longer believe any of the story with certainty.