In der kurzen Formel
"Y'MACH SCHMO VEZIKHRO"
steckt alle Verachtung des Menschen
und die Laesterung G'ttes!
Erschreckende Ausbrüche des Hasses
SHAS RABBI OVADIA YOSEF ISSUES
CALL FOR DESTRUCTION OF
EDUCATION MINISTER SARID
In a shocking outburst during his weekly "Torah lesson" last night, Shas
spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef compared Education Minister Yossi Sarid
(Meretz) to the evil "Haman" and predicted that God will blot out Sarid's name
from the world.
In this Purim season, Jews around the
world remember the wicked Haman who manipulated the Persian king into issuing a
death decree against the Jews and who was, in the end, himself destroyed for his
evil acts, along with his family and other supporters. During the reading of the
Megillat Esther the custom is to make so much noise that Haman's name
cannot be heard every time it appears in the reading. The implicit meaning to
Yosef's words and their implications for Sarid's supporters are clear.
Ovadia Yosef calls for "Wiping Out Name and Remembrance" of Education Minister
Israelis understand Yosef's comparison as
the equivalent of a call to destroy Sarid. Many are calling for an investigation
to determine whether Yosef violated Israel's law against incitement. Israelis
are particularly sensitive to this sort of incendiary remark, remembering that
some rabbis issued a "din rodef" against Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin,
which was interpreted by one religious fanatic as justifying assassination.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's weekly "Torah
lesson" is broadcast by the Shas satellite radio network to listeners throughout
the country. Those attending the lecture were heard to applaud the remarks
immediately afterwards. Yosef was quoted by Israel Radio as calling for
"uprooting the evil man who hates the students of the wise." He called on his
followers to say, on Purim: "Cursed is wicked Haman, cursed is wicked Sarid."
Reactions of Public
Shortly after the remarks were quoted by
Israel Radio last night, Justice Minister Yossi Beilin condemned Yosef's
statement, saying: "The rabbi should immediately erase these incendiary remarks,
which place a big question mark over attempts to cooperate with his movement."
MK Zehava Gal-On, head of the Meretz Knesset faction, called for Attorney
General Elyakim Rubinstein to press charges of incitement. The Attorney General
has said that he will decide today whether to open an investigation.
Minister Sarid initially refused to
comment on the remarks, saying that the statement "speaks for itself." At a
press conference called by Sarid later in the day, he said that the Education
Ministry regularly supplies Shas' monthly educational system allocation as
required by agreement, while Shas continues to fail to fulfill it's required
administrative changes and budgetary reports. For example, Shas has still not
closed the 48 schools they were obligated to close due their small student
population, and they have not yet submitted their year 2000 budget.
At today's government cabinet meeting,
Prime Minister Ehud Barak said that Yosef's remarks are unacceptable and must be
corrected. "[The rabbi] is a spiritual leader whose words have great effect...
We have seen the effect of unwarranted hatred, not only in previous eras but in
recent times," Barak said. Acceding to the request of Shas Labor Minister Eli
Yishai, Barak conducted no further discussion of the subject at the cabinet
Beyond the Pale
It is well known that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
is angry over the treatment that Shas Deputy Education Minister Meshulam Nahari
has received from Minster Sarid - particularly Sarid's refusal to let Nahari
oversee the Education Ministry's administration of the Shas independent school
system. Indeed, this controversy has been behind recent repeated failures of the
Shas Knesset faction to support the government in crucial votes.
Nevertheless, such inflammatory remarks
are well beyond the pale even in Israel's turbulent political
Shas Party Chairman Labor Minister Eli
Yishai tried to soften Yosef's remarks by saying that the Rabbi did not intend
to call for violence, which is not "the way of Torah." Still, the Rabbi has not
been heard to clarify his own meaning - something that would certainly carry
significantly more weight with his loyal followers.
However, Minister Beilin raised the
crucial question: How can anyone - especially those working on subjects such as
peace - rely upon the support of a party whose members unerringly follow the
edicts of a "spiritual leader" such as this?
Prime Minister Barak has asked the
Non-Orthodox Movements to be patient and wait for him to finish the peace
process before advancing religious freedom issues, so that he can keep Shas and
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on board the "peace team." However, is this the person
upon whose word we wait to be a "partner for peace" while putting "on hold"
subjects that will "upset" him - such as support for religious pluralism,
recognition of Non-Orthodox conversions, the opportunity to marry in Israel for
all, equal bearing of the burden of military service through the elimination of
wholesale exemption of Yeshiva students?
If the Shas/Rabbi Ovadia Yosef prior
track record made gave us cause to be skeptical before, this latest attack
raises the doubt to an all-time high.
Hass und Mordhetze
- um des Friedens willen!
Prime Minister Ehud Barak opened the
cabinet meeting yesterday with a statement critical of Shas Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's
verbal attack on Education Minister Yossi Sarid, but to avoid a heated argument
he did not allow other ministers to speak on the issue.
"I know that people really want to express themselves, but as public figures, we
need to exert self-control and show determination to solve crises in the proper
manner, " Barak told the cabinet.
In a statement that some ministers said they found too conciliatory, Barak said
that "we have already seen what unbased hatred can breed ... we therefore must
be responsible not only for what we say but also for how we react. Our
responsibility ... is to do all we can to conduct a dialogue in peaceful ways."
Shas's Eliyahu Suissa, minister of national infrastructures, tried to interject
when the prime minister noted that "words can kill," but Barak cut him off,
insisting that "there will not be a discussion here."
One Israel mum?
Outside of the cabinet meeting, most of the One Israel ministers remained
silent, and did not publicly condemn the incendiary sermon by Rabbi Yosef.
However, Justice Minister Yossi Beilin spoke out strongly against the rabbi's
remarks and called on him to make a public apology. Without such an apology, it
would be difficult for One Israel to continue its coalition partnership with
Shas, he added.
Environment Minister Dalia Itzik was the
other One Israel minister who spoke out against the Shas leader's remarks
equating Meretz leader Sarid with the Purim villain Haman. In a reference to the
assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, she noted that the rabbi's
comments could be interpreted by extremists as a new license to murder.
Industry and Trade Minister Ran Cohen of Meretz said that the rabbi's words "sow
hatred and create a divide - not only within the coalition, but also within the
MK Roman Bronfman (Democratic Choice) called on Barak to re-open the coalition
agreements and form a national unity government with the Likud. In his view,
Shas is a divisive element that endangers Israeli democracy.
Deputy Education Minister Shaul Yahalom (National Religious Party) said that
Rabbi Yosef should issue a retraction, and called for reconciliation and
The chairman of the Likud's Knesset faction, Reuven Rivlin said that "our close
relations with Shas compel us to tell Rabbi Yosef that he cannot call a Zionist
Jew like Minister Sarid names like Haman and Amalek."
MK Michael Eitan (Likud) criticized the prime minister's mild response to Rabbi
Yosef's statements, saying that Barak's stance was "embarrassing."
The Shinui Chair MK Yosef Lapid, wondered "how much longer Yossi Sarid would be
willing to say that it's raining when Rabbi Ovadia spits in his face." Lapid
said that Sarid should resign if Barak does not throw Shas out of the coalition.
Die Regierung erhalten
- den Friedensprozess nicht gefährden!
Political sources close to Barak said
that he plans to devote all his energy to resolving the ongoing crisis between
Shas and Meretz. Indeed, said some sources, Barak views the current crisis in
relations as a potential "lever" to find a solution to the soured relations
between his two largest coalition partners. Earlier in the day the attorney
general convened an urgent meeting of his top advisors yesterday afternoon to
discuss the matter. Present were State Prosecutor Edna Arbel, Nava Ben-Or of the
criminal division, Talia Sasson of the special missions division, Uzi Fogelman
of the appeals division and Jerusalem District Prosecutor Moseh Lador.
The participants viewed a videotape of
the sermon the rabbi delivered at the Tiferet Yerushalayim synagogue Saturday
night, during which he compared Sarid to Haman, the villain of the Purim story
and called on his followers to curse Sarid and "wipe out his memory."
The consensus at the meeting was that
criminal proceedings should be initiated because the remarks were aimed at a
specific person, and not in general against Supreme Court justices, as happened
the last time the authorities were faced by such a controversial statement by
the rabbi. The latest outburst, they noted, appeared to contain a clear element
of incitement to violence against Sarid, since Haman was hanged at the end of
the Purim tale. They also expressed concern that the enthusiastic applause and
calls of "amen" by the congregation at the sermon could escalate into a physical
attack against the education minister.
Rubinstein yesterday decided to postpone his decision in order to have time to
consider which articles of law the rabbi apparently violated.
According to one judicial source, the possible charges include incitement to
violence, insulting a public official and issuing threats. Since the
assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995, there have been
20 indictments for incitement to violence.
MKs and Justice Ministry officials recalled yesterday that Attorney General
Rubinstein had explained his decision not to pursue an indictment against Rabbi
Yosef for his scathing comments about the Supreme Court by saying that these
were directed against an institution, rather than an individual.
Rubinstein used the same argument to explain why he did pursue an indictment
against MK Avigdor Liberman, who allegedly threatened a senior police officer.
This precedent would make it very difficult for Rubinstein to avoid charging
against Rabbi Yosef, whose remarks were clearly targeted against a specific
individual several different scenarios, including the possibility that Rabbi
Yosef would refuse to cooperate with police investigators.
They also discussed the legal implications of a public apology by the rabbi.
Rabbi Yosef issues statement
In a handwritten statement prepared by Shas chairman Eli Yishai last night,
Rabbi Yosef explained: "In my words Saturday night during the lesson, I had no
intention of acting with violence toward Minister Yossi Sarid since this is not
the way of the Torah. And I hereby publicly declare ... that it is absolutely
forbidden to harm any person, even if he does not act honestly with us."
Yossi Sarid, who earlier wished the rabbi a "Happy Purim," said that the rabbi's
statement did not put an end to the matter. He said that he did not hear an
apology and that "as a matter of fact, I am not waiting for an apology. But I am
waiting for all of the authorities to do their duty."
His Meretz colleague, Minister Ran Cohen said that the rabbi's clarification was
meaningless and demonstrated obtuseness: "In comparison with the clear words
of hatred that the rabbi voiced, the letter of apology is hesitant and
insufficient," Cohen said. He added that the law requires that the rabbi be
indicted for incitement".
MK Ophir Pines-Paz, the chairman of One Israel's Knesset faction, also said that
Rabbi Yosef's apology was unacceptable and insufficient: "Until Rabbi Ovadia
puts aside his pride and make a complete apology to Minister Sarid, the matter
cannot be closed," he added.several different scenarios, including the
possibility that Rabbi Yosef would refuse to cooperate with police
CURSED IS SARID,
TAKE REVENGE ON HIM
LIKE ON HAMAN THE WICKED.
He says in his pre-Purim sermon: "When reading the Book of Esther, after 'Cursed
is Haman' - say 'Cursed is Yossi Sarid.'" "He is wicked, satanic and he
must be erased like Amalek." Sarid: "Remarks speak for themselves."
Meretz to Attorney-General Rubinstein: This is serious incitement, try Rabbi
"CURSED IS YOSSI
HE MUST BE UPROOTED FROM THE WORLD."
Sarid refuses to respond to Shas leader's attack. Minister Haim Oron:
Incitement to murder.
fuer das Volk Israel
kann und muss von jedermann verlangt werden!
Communicated by the Prime Minister's
Media Adviser: At the opening of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday),
19.3.2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak expressed regret over the severe remarks
made by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef against Education Minister Yossi Sarid.
Prime Minister Barak expressed his reservations about Rabbi Yosef's comments and
added that they are unacceptable. He expressed the hope that they would be
rectified, especially since they were said by a spiritual leader whom hundreds
of thousands of people listen to attentively.
"We must find the way to maintain a public dialogue with mutual respect,
fraternal love and courtesy," Prime Minister Barak said.
Prime Minister Barak added that we have already seen the consequences of
baseless hatred, not just in past, but in the present as well. This
requires us to accept responsibly for what we say and for how we respond.
"Our national, substantive and public responsibility demands that we maintain a
courteous dialogue that respects us, the People of Israel," he said.
Torquemada im Lande Israel:
Der Anfang der Inquisition?
WENN DIES KEINE MORDHETZE IST -
WAS IST DANN