By Geoffrey Paul
August 30, 2010
I hope that leading rabbis, and not only Israeli ones, will raise their voices in total condemnation of the sickening, criminal even, outburst by the former Sephardi chief rabbi of Israel and current Shaas leader, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. According to Israeli press reports, in a Shabbat sermon he referred to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian people as “our enemies and haters... May they vanish from the world, may God smite them with the plague, them and the Palestinians, evil-doers and Israel-haters.” It is to the credit of Prime Minister Netanyahu that he immediately condemned the outburst. Yosef's purpose is certainly not to help the Prime Minister make Israel's case in the Washington peace talks which are imminent - Shaas is a major component of the coalition government which would have to endorse any peace deal signed with the Palestinians and brokered by the Americans. Jews have experienced enough vicious race hatred and incitement to genocide without suffering its utterance by one who is graced with the title of "spiritual leader" and who was for years a major teacher and scholar of Jewish thought. The only excuse that can be made for him is senility. There cannot be any other.