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Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s Obituary

Then Israeli Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef read the dedication of a Jewish religious book given to Netanyahu by Yosef during a meeting in this June 13, 1996 file photo.

Then Israeli Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef read the dedication of a Jewish religious book given to Netanyahu by Yosef during a meeting in this June 13, 1996 file photo.

Almost every news outlet that covered Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s death did so with apparent restraint. The largely one sided obituaries painted Yosef as “Influential,” a “Giant,” a “Spiritual leader,” a “Kingmaker” and yet when it came to his views on Islam, Arabs, Palestinians specifically, those descriptions are looked upon with confusion. This rabbi also had a very radical and dark side to his outlook of the “other.”

The Guardian was willing to provide one of the more complete obituaries by revealing Yosef’s many extremist, racist and dangerous views:

On the other hand, he often took abstruse, even offensive positions. He lambasted Reform Jews as “destroyers of religion”; claimed that Jewish law forbade men to walk between women; and told President Bill Clinton to “kiss our feet”. In 1999 he repudiated the supreme court after his protege, Aryeh Deri, was jailed for accepting bribes. In 2000 he called Holocaust victims “reincarnated souls of sinners”; later he likened Palestinian and Arab foes to snakes and vipers. In 2010 he said gentiles should serve Jews, he once called Binyamin Netanyahu a “blind she-goat” and this year he dubbed a religious Zionist party as a “home for goyim [non-Jews]”…

A spokesman for the downtrodden and a champion of faith, or a bigoted autocrat who undermined democracy, and whose political dalliances sullied his religious purity? At least Yosef silenced orthodox Ashkenazim who once had lampooned him and his community.

The New York Times made mention of these views on page 2 with only one passing sentence:

In 2010, he called President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority “evil” and asked God to strike “these Ishmaelites and Palestinians with a plague, these evil haters of Israel.”

The only critical sentence in the NPR obituary was a single sentence on the rabbi’s “conservatism,” his remarks about Muslims were omitted and NPR framed the sentence as though Yosef was an equal opportunity hater of secular Jews and Arabs/Muslims alike.:

In later years, he was widely seen as becoming more conservative in his views. And the outspoken rabbi also famously called several other leaders “evil” — including Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, and Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas.

But from all the articles not one news outlet covered his Islamophobic beliefs. His anti-Muslim venom. I had to dig up an old article here on LW to remind myself what he said:

Israeli Rabbi Describes Islam as “ugly”

Israel’s top Rabbi, Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, harshly criticized Islam as a religion and described it as an “ugly” faith during a speech he delivered on Saturday night for the occasion of Hanukah. The comments have left many in the Arab world questioning the role of religious leaders in the Jewish state. The Rabbi, according to a report by Egypt’s al-Youm al-Saba’a newspaper, who quoted the statements of the Rabbi from Israel’s Ma’arev daily newspaper, reportedly said, “Islam is the worst religion and a religion that disregards the rules of marriage and divorce among Muslims.”

Headlines

  1. Guardian: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef obituary
  2. Huffington post: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Dead: Head Of Shas, Israel Sephardic Jews Dies At 93
  3. Jewish Press: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, One of Today’s Giant Torah Sages, Dies at 93
  4. Israel National News: Leading Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Dies Aged 93
  5. Al Jazeera English: Israel’s Rabbi Ovadia Yosef dies at 93: Influential spiritual leader of Sephardic Jewish community and ultra-Orthodox Shas party dies in Jerusalem hospital.
  6. Ynet News: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef dies at 93
  7. Jpost: Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef dies at 93
  8. NYTimes: Page 1:Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Influential Spiritual Leader in Israel, Dies at 93 /Page 2: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Influential Spiritual Leader in Israel, Dies at 93
  9. NPR: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, A ‘Kingmaker’ In Israeli Politics, Dies
  10. Christian Science Monitor: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s death robs Israel of spiritual and political powerhouse
  11.  LA Times: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef dies at 93; Israeli ultra-Orthodox leader

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  • Maher

    Okay. You quoted Arab sex terrorism. You did not quote Islam at all. Our “ugly” religion does not allow this. In Islam we are not allowed to twist laws to make them morally repugnant. If we twist laws in Islam and pretend like its okay because technically maybe we can double interpret the arabic meaning to do this, hahaha we are completely screwed on the day of Judgment. Zulm (taking away the rights and committing wrongs to) another person is completely forbidden in Islam. Women have the right to reject a marriage, though in practice people who do not actually embody the true meanings of Islam will ignore this. It’s funny you mention anti-women stuff because it was famous that when Islam first came out, the polytheists of Mecca one of their chief complaints was along the lines of how can you make women equal to men. They said they bought them, fed them clothed them, this was their argument. The Muslim response was, “how can you deny the womb that bore you”. In Islam mothers are so important that you cannot disgrace your mother or even say “oof” to her (muslim or nonmuslim) because Paradise is under the feet of your mother. Therefore every women on Earth is required to be respected and protected. What unjust arabs do is not Islam. I could say Judaism requires people to be terrorists because Haganah was how Israel was established and was a terrorist group. But I won’t say that because that is not actually Judaism. Similarly, you should not take the actions of a faulty person and think they represent the religion.

  • Guess

    ” and all dead people were saints.”

    Ah yes, the certain conventions to observe. But as humans still here, we especially need to observe whatever good or bad those did. The elevating, almost cultish Remembrance people in some parts of world have for “dead people” its not the same of other parts.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    OK if one can’t compare the Zionists to the Nazis one can certainly compare them to the Serbs, and call them by their common name:
    X E N O P H O B E S

  • Fox-News

    Israel’s other land grab: The Palestinians aren’t the only people losing their lands to the Jewish state http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/moment/2013/10/israel_s_expropriation_of_bedouin_lands_the_jewish_state_s_other_land_grab.html?wpisrc=burger_bar

  • mindy1

    🙁

  • JD

    http://news.yahoo.com/settler-rampage-forces-palestinian-school-lockdown-154309233.html

    JALOUD, West Bank (AP) — Residents of a Palestinian village in the West Bank say masked Jewish settlers burst into a school, vandalized cars and torched olive trees during a rampage that forced schoolchildren to remain locked in classrooms to keep safe.Fawzi Ali, a teacher at the school in Jaloud, says the settlers entered on Wednesday and began throwing stones. He says teachers locked classroom doors to protect the school’s 175 students as the doors were pelted.The settlers smashed the windshields of several cars outside, and then lit a fire that burned through a nearby olive grove.Jaloud is located next to a hardline Jewish settlement outpost whose residents have clashed with local Palestinians in the past.The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident.

  • Tarig Musa

    I wish I was that learned my friend, but not at all! I just believe that if people stopped this tribalism that has plagued humanity since the time of Kane and Abel the world would be a much better place. Unfortunately i’m pretty certain that will never happen, so instead all I can do is help to remind people that ultimately we’re all human, be a decent person to the best of my ability, raise my daughter to judge a person on the contents of their heart, not the colour of their skin or the God they believe in, and be faithful and true to myself first and foremost. It doesn’t matter what religion a person is, that is between yourself and no one else, but unfortunately society doesn’t allow the layman to follow that logic, instead trying to lead the sheep to slaughter. Thankfully I’m not a sheep, but it appears the way we are heading as a race, the powers that be seem to want to lead us all to the slaughterhouse. Call me a cynic but seems like the greatest act of eugenics known to man in process if you ask me.

  • Reynardine

    No one lives who does not commit sins along the way. If one postulates reincarnation, Holocaust victims would have been indistinguishable from any other human beings in that regard. But there are those who hate the suffering on principle, and they are not confined to any nation or religion. Some of those are trying to take over the United States right now.

  • Reynardine

    Tariq, it is you who should be giving sermons, whether in any faith,all, or none.

  • Reynardine

    Though he seems to have been a venemous soul, there are certain conventions to observe: all babies are beautiful, all brides are radiant, and all dead people were saints.

  • Tarig Musa

    For those of you that seem to be rejoicing in his death,remember that death is a matter between a person and their Creator, we have no right to judge, no right to assume anything. What we should be doing, as decent human beings, is saying may God have mercy on his soul (if you believe in a Creator that is), and leave the rest in the hands of said Creator! Regardless of a mans legacy, that is now his problem, not ours. On the day of judgement the Prophets will be screaming ‘nafsi, nafsi’ (myself for those who don’t speak Arabic, meaning they don’t care what you’re going through, they only care about themselves at that point), nothing else really matters when you think of it like that.

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  • JD

    Yeah well we all have our nuts Look at the ignorant morons Saudia Arabia

  • mindy1

    Good lord, he made people of my faith look bad :(((

  • Nur Alia binti Ahmad

    the best part of the article on people like this…dead.

  • Tanveer Khan

    In 2000 he called Holocaust victims “reincarnated souls of sinners
    I’m confused as to why a Rabbi would say something like this… I know loons are to be found everywhere but still, it came as a bit of a surprise.

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