Arab MKs

Rabbi Aviner in the News: Arab MKs
by Kobi Nahshoni
from 19 Shevat 5769

A prominent Zionist rabbi ruled this week that according to the Halacha, a non-Jew cannot serve as a Knesset member in the State of Israel, even if the public agrees to it. "This is irrelevant," said Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, "This is a Jewish state and Jews are the ones leading the Jewish state." [Rav] Aviner was asked on his weblog whether the election of non-Jews to parliament does not undermine the government's authority, and "is it even allowed for non-Jews to be part of the Jewish state's leadership?"

The rabbi replied that this was indeed against a halachic ruling issued by Maimonides, and that although later there were those who sought to allow it "if the nation agrees to it," Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook ruled this out as an "irrelevant" consideration. According to [Rav] Aviner, the present situation in Israel was undesirable, but added that since the Arab minority had no real influence on Israel's affairs, things were not so bad. However, "If they become the deciding factor and create the majority – this is blasphemy." The Rabbi concluded: "Still, we are very happy to have our own state, even if some of the Knesset members are not Jewish. This is a million times better than being ruled by the Brits or the Turks."