Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Safed, has been summoned by police concerning a letter he published advising the public not to rent or sell homes to Arabs. On Friday, Eliyahu told Yediot Achronot he refuses to answer the summons.

Police are reportedly seeking to interrogate the chief rabbi on suspicion of incitement to racism. He was summoned to Jerusalem on Sunday.

Eliyahu said:

“I asked them if David Grossman, Yossi Sarid, and Shulamit Aloni, who protested against the settlement of Jews in Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood, had also been interrogated, but they said no…If I am being accused of racism while they are not – this is discrimination…We have no intention of playing into the hands of the justice system, which behaves in an inequitable manner.”

Eliyahu finds Knesset members, Yaakov Katz and Uri Ariel (National Union), who condemned the “summoning to interrogation of the great leaders of Israel” and the “persecution of the Torah and its rabbis” on his side.

In a statement, they said:

“Freedom of speech has been stolen from wizened students by the police and the prosecution, because they believe it is deserved only by radical and post-Zionist academicians, who call on Arabs to refrain from renting to Jews in their neighborhoods.”

Meanwhile, in an unrelated story, Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, told the press in Ramallah, on Christmas Day:

“We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it…We are ready to have peace on the basis of international legitimacy and the road map, which we have accepted, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative…But when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it.”