British Jewish leaders have castigated the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel for saying that non-Jews living in Israel should be expelled and sent to Saudi Arabia.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, 64, who recently said it was a “mitzvah” to kill terrorists, this week declared that non-Jews should not be allowed to live in Israel unless they abide by the Noachide Laws which, according to the Talmud, were seven laws given to the sons of Noah.

“If the non-Jew is unwilling to accept these laws, then we can send him to Saudi Arabia,” the rabbi said. “When there will be full, true redemption, we will do this.”

His comments, made during his weekly Saturday night lecture which is broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10, caused instant recoil at the Board of Deputies.

The organisation’s president and senior vice-president issued a strong statement of condemnation, accusing the religious leader of tempting race-hate attacks against Israel’s minorities.

“Such comments risk stoking prejudice, at a time when unity is sorely needed,” said Jonathan Arkush and Richard Verber. “They are also a source of embarrassment.”

The two men added that it was “important to recall and uphold the Declaration of In-dependence of the State of Israel” which “ensure(s) complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex” and “guaran-tee(s) freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture”.