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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776
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Rav Ovadia’s Son to Netanyahu: You Hurt Dad’s Feelings

The prime minister was embarrassed during a shiva visit to the mourning children of the great man.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paying his respects to the family of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef at the shiva in Jerusalem. Two of the sons turned out to have some unfinished business with the visiting leader.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paying his respects to the family of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef at the shiva in Jerusalem. Two of the sons turned out to have some unfinished business with the visiting leader.
Photo Credit: Gil Yohanan/POOL/FLASH90



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara arrived at Hakablan 45 Street in Jerusalem around noon, Tuesday, on a shiva call to the children of the departed Rav Ovadia Yosef, and was greatly surprised when the sons of the great man exploded at him, saying their father had been hurt by him, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

While Netanyahu was in the middle of his visit, one of Rav Ovadia’s sons, Rabbi Avraham Yosef, turned to him, and in a voice choked with tears said: “Half a year ago you were here, by us, you were present near Dad… Dad asked you very much… The world of Torah was very dear to him… It was like his last will…”

Rabbi Avraham Yosef was referring, of course, to the “decree” of drafting yeshiva students to the IDF, which Rav Ovadia fiercely opposed.

“We’re begging,” Rabbi Avraham Yosef told Netanyahu, “we’re asking, all of us, with our hearts, do what you can…”

At that point, another son, Rabbi David Yosef, exploded at the prime minister, saying: “Dad asked for your answer and didn’t receive it, he was very much hurt by that.”

Rabbi David Yosef continued: “Dad was very hurt by the fact that he did not receive a response to his request. All he heard [from you] was ‘I didn’t come [to discuss] this, only those words, and he was very hurt by it. He spoke to me afterwards and he was very much hurt.”

And Rabbi David Yosef continued, relentlessly: “We anticipate, we feel that this was the most important request for him. He told you in these very words, ‘I lost a son, but this pains me more.'”

Later, during Netanyahu visit, Rabbi David Yosef returned to the subject, saying: “He voiced some very harsh words on this topic, the yeshiva students’ draft, and he did not receive a response. We’re still waiting.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who appeared deeply embarrassed by the unexpected onslaught, responded: “We’re making efforts to unite the nation, to preserve the nation.”

To which Rabbi David Yosef responded: “To preserve the world of Torah, that’s what he asked.”

Earlier, Netanyahu told Kikar Hashabbat how much he would miss his visits to Rav Ovadia’s place, and how much he would miss Rav Ovadia himself, “a special man with a big heart, a great soul, a good spirit.”

Netanyahu also mentioned that the departed was a member of the association commemorating his own late brother, Yoni Netanyahu, who was killed during the hostage release in Entebbe, Uganda.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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