A rare meeting took place Monday in Ramallah, between Rabbi Menachem Chai Shalom Fruman, Nachum Pachnik, chairman of the Eretz Shalom movement, the movement’s director Rabbi Tzuriel Krispel, Rabbi Michael Melchior, and Adina Bar Shalom, daughter of Rav Ovadia Yosef, and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Kikar HaShabbat reported.
The rabbis came to the meeting in order to encourage a series of meetings between rabbis and clergymen and senior Palestinian officials.
Abbas addressed the Iranian threat against Israel, and, surprisingly, expressed his objection to permitting Iran to possess a nuclear bomb, thus dragging the entire region into great danger. “I hope there won’t be a war, because any bloodshed is forbidden (Haram).”
Further astounding his guests, Abu Mazen added, “The State of Israel was established in order to remain in existence and not, like some extremists claim, that it’s necessary to annul its existence.”
But he added that alongside Israel “there is a country that’s missing – Palestine.”
Rabbi Krispel requested from Abbas’s blessing “for more meetings between rabbis and sheiks, to form a connection. We believe that we can broaden these circles and create an environment of co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians.”
As reported, Mrs. Adina Bar Shalom, Rav Ovadia Yosef’s daughter, also participated in this meeting. Rabbi Fruman introduced her to the Palestinian officials and even called her “Rabbanit.”
“We did not bring the Rabbanit because of her opinions,” said Rabbi Fruman. “Even though she is a ‘rabbi’ in her own right and I do address her as Rabbi Bar Shalom. She is here because she is the closest person to her father, closer than the reporters whom you rely on.”
“Rav Ovadia Yosef is not what the newspapers make him out to be. Rav Ovadia uses his influence on the Israeli public and also on the Israeli government,” Rabbi Fruman told the Palestinian officials.
At the end of the meeting, Abu Mazen requested to convey his greetings to Rav Ovadia Yosef and even expressed hope of a future meeting with him.
About the Author: Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.
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