‘Silenced’ by ‘anti-Zionists’? Top rabbi’s US visa mysteriously revoked

Leading rabbi’s visa cancelled by the State Department, spokesperson says he’s being punished by left-wing groups.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Chief Rabbi of Tzfat (Safed), one of Judaism’s holiest cities, was informed by the U.S. State Department that his visa had been revoked, with no explanation.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu , a leading figure in the Religious Zionism movement, held a visa to the U.S. that permitted him multiple entries and was valid for decades, but it was suddenly canceled by American officials with no warning, Israel Hayom reported.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel refused to comment on the revocation of Eliyahu’s visa.

Although no official reason has been given for the cancellation, it’s likely that Eliyahu’s past statements about Arabs and the LGBT movement sparked concern among Biden administration officials. In the past, Eliyahu has urged Jews not to rent or sell their properties in Tzfat to Arabs, and has publicly criticized those who do.

In 2020, left-wing groups called for an investigation of the rabbi after he urged security forces to kill terrorists, rather than attempt to arrest them.

“We need to try and kill anyone who raises his hand against a Jew. And he doesn’t even have to kill [a Jew], only strike him or want him dead,” Eliyahu said during a lecture.

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“Soldiers, police, and civilians have an obligation to take them out. Not ‘neutralize’ them or ‘get them under control,’ but remove them from the world.”

In 2018, Eliyahu joined some 200 other prominent rabbis in signing a letter that expressed opposition to “non-stop media brainwashing” by LGBT groups and disapproval of gays and lesbians raising children.

Eliyahu has been a staunch advocate for victims of sexual assault and harassment in the religious community. He created tribunals and penalties meant to protect the public from abusers, establishing an alternate route for victims reluctant to turn to the police.

A spokesman for the rabbi said in a statement the State Department refused to provide an explanation for the sudden revocation. He said they believe the cancellation was made due to left-wing pressure.

“Our inquiries show that this is an action of anti-Zionists, such as the Reform movement, entities that frequently try to infringe on freedom of expression and silence rabbis,” the statement said.

“After failing to silence Rabbi Eliyahu using legal action, they are now trying to silence the rabbi using a variety of petty methods. There is no reason for worry — they will not succeed.”