Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Shas party spiritual leader and former Sephardic chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef is urging Israelis not to vote for the party headed by Naftali Bennett, the Bayit HaYehudi Jewish Home party, calling it not a home for Jews but a home for gentiles.
Rabbi Yosef slammed the party after Ayelet Shaked, fifth on the party’s list, indicated that she supports civil marriage in Israel. Bennett and his party have also vowed to ease the arduous conversion process, raising the ire of Shas and other Hareidi parties by questioning conversion’s placement under the exclusive jurisdiction of “ultra-Orthodox” groups and raising suspicion that corruption has tainted the system.
“They call them the ‘Jewish Home’, but this is not a home for Jews – it is a home of ‘goyim’ [gentiles],” Rabbi Yosef said. “They want to uproot Torah and institute civil marriage. One cannot vote for them… Anyone who votes for them denies the Torah”.
“They are all wicked people who hate Torah and its commandments,” he said.
Bennett called Rabbi Yosef an “important spiritual leader”, who is loved and respected, and said attacks by Rabbi Yosef and leaders from the post-nationalist and anti-religious parties show that the Jewish Home is “on the right path” to being a bridge between the diverse sectors of Israeli society.
About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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