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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Shas Party’

Rav Ovadia Yosef Hospitalized

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Former Israeli chief rabbi and spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rav Ovadia Yosef, was taken to Hadassah-Ein Kerem Medical Center Saturday night following a deterioration of his medical condition, Kikar Hashabbat reports.

He was fully conscious during the ride to the hospital.

Over Shabbat Chol Hamoed, Rav Ovadia was not feeling well and did not go down from his apartment to his study hall. He prayed in a small minyan in his home instead. He also required a supply of oxygen and care from his personal physician, Dr. Yochanan Strassman, who is the director of the Hadassah-Mt. Scopus Hospital Unit for Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, and former director general of the National Insurance Institute.

Dr. Strassman conducted a consultation after the end of Shabbat, and reached the decision to hospitalize.

‘Amalek’ Comment More an Expression of Shas Despair than Hate

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Saturday night has been for years an opportunity for the Sephardi Haredi party Shas’ spiritual leader, Rav Ovadia Yosef, to make headlines with some outrageous statements. In fact, as the Israeli media began to carry those statements, making them the focal point of many a Sunday morning conversations (Sunday is Israel’s Monday).

Initially, those statements were mostly against the Arabs, most notably the Palestinians, most emphatically the late Chairman Yassir Arafat. But as of Israel’s most recent elections, during the campaign and especially as it was becoming clear that the Jewish Home national religious party was going to be inside the coalition government while the two Haredi parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, were out—the great spiritual leader started frothing at the mouth cursing out his rivals.

He called them “Goyish Home,” he accused them of fighting and desecrating the Torah, he ridiculed their notion of being religious—how could they possibly be religious when they conspire, along with Yair Lapid’s burgeoning middle-class party Yesh Atid, to force thousands of yeshiva students into military conscription.

This past Saturday night, in Rav Ovadia’s synagogue in the Bucharim neighborhood in Jerusalem, a member of the Shas Council of Torah Sages, Rav Shalom Cohen, dean of the Porat Yosef yeshiva, compared the national religious in Israel, whose noted symbol are the knitted yarmulkes—kippot srugot—to Amalek.

Just before Purim, many divrei Torah are said about the true identity of Amalek. Some say it is a real nation, whose goal in history is to negate whatever it is Jews are doing, because Amalek are the enemies of God, while we are the children of God. They see Amalek in every great enemy of the Jews, culminating in the Nazis and Ahmadinejad. Others talk about the Amalek within us, that fascistic component of our personalities that has no problem stepping on others, brutally if need be, just to get its way.

In that context, Rav Cohen’s note was blood curdling. Whether he had had too much of the glass of havdala, or truly believes it, he made the following clever spiel: “It says God does war against Amalek. So long as Amalek exists, the throne—kess is not complete. KS is an acronym for Kippa Sruga—knitted yarmulke. When will the throne-kess be whole? When there’s no longer a kippa sruga… Are these really Jews?”

Haredi journalist Israel Gelis says Rav Cohen’s poor choice of words should not be taken seriously. It’s part of a particular culture where heated expressions are thrown out with little consideration of their impact. Gelis says that on Shabbat he ran into Rav Cohen at the Kotel, and the latter said to him with a huge smile: “Did you see the name of the chief of the tribe of Naftali (as in Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett)? It’s Achira (Num. 1:15),” literally “brother of evil.” And he was very pleased with himself, adds Gelis.

Those things shouldn’t be taken seriously. But the total failure of Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri to deliver on any of his promises, says Gelis, bears far more serious ramifications for the Haredi Sephardi party that relies on thousands of knitted yarmulke voters.

Having lost out in the coalition building wars to Bennett and Lapid, Deri has forged an alliance with leftist Meretz and the Arab parties, to the point where he is more likely to vote with them against the Zionist coalition government than not. His rival in the Shas leadership, deposed chairman Eli Yishai, is a regular secret visitor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chambers—so secret the entire Haredi world knows about it. Yishai has been a reliable, steady partner to Netanyahu and other secular, right-wing leaders. At this point he is waiting for his nemesis to sink deeper in the political mud.

Life in the opposition is murder on a party like Shas, which used to utilize its government ministries to favor its Sephardi sector. Now, unable to bring home the paella, Shas is standing to lose much of its support to the new powers that be in the ministries they used to control: Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home.

Add to that the fact that Maran Rav Ovadia Yosef is not getting any younger, and you’ll understand the Shas angst.

Rav Ovadia Released from Hospital to Recover at Home

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Shas spiritual rabbi and former Chief Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was released from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem Monday after having been rushed there the night before when he lost consciousness at home.

Doctors said he is good condition and did not suffer a broken leg, as was first feared when he fell at his Jerusalem home and complained of pains in his leg. He suffered cruises and some scratches.

Rabbi Yosef, or Rav Ovadia as he is affectionately known, lost consciousness momentarily while he was walking from his study to prepare for evening prayers at a nearby synagogue.

Next Israel Shekel Bills to Feature Sephardi Jew

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

The Netanyahu government is going “politically correct” and will make sure the next serious of Israel shekel bills will feature a Sephardi Jew following last year’s four new banknotes that featured only Ashkenazi Jews.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he personally prefers that the “Sephardi shekel bill” feature poet Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy, calling his poetry “genius.”

Knesset Member Aryeh Deri of the Shas Sephardi religious party sharply criticized the monopoly of Ashkenazi Jews on the most recent series.

“Money adorned with an image of a Mizrahi figure is not worth less,” he said.

The Rambam, Moses Maimonides, was featured on a banknote in 1980 but is only widely-known Sephardic to be seen on Israel money.

Turkish, Israeli Pols Meet to Solve Disagreements ‘with Love’

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

On Sunday, two days ahead of the Israeli elections, Turkish and Israeli politicians made an appearance on Turkish television A9 TV, and expressed the necessity of solving the problems between their two nations with love, friendship and brotherhood.

The Israeli delegation was composed of a founding member of the Shas Party, MK Rabbi Nissim Zeev, former Minister Prof. Dr. Shimon Shetreet, and Shas Secretary Rabbi Tsvi Jacobson.

The Turkish group included a founding member of the AK party, former Turkish Foreign Minister and Ambassador Prof. Dr. Yasar Yakis, Former Minister of Health, Halil Sivgin, and former AK Party Member of Parliament Mucahit Daloglu.

The AK PARTİ or AKP, the Justice and Development Party, is an Islamic-leaning center-right conservative party, the largest in Turkey—with 327 members of parliament. Its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is the current Prime Minister, while fellow former party member and PM Abdullah Gül is President. (In Turkish, Ak also means white.)

The meeting was hosted by Mr. Adnan Oktar, a prominent Turkish-Muslim scholar, who is embraced as a spiritual leader across the Turkic and Muslim world.

Since the Mavi Marmara incident of May 31, 2010—when Israeli Navy forces blocked a six-boat flotilla headed for Gaza and a confrontation on board the Turkish boat Mavi Marmara resulted in the death of 9—there have been many behind the scenes efforts to calm political tensions and reinforce the bilateral relationship between Turkey and Israel.

Political and religious leaders were invited to Turkey to have both private and public meetings under the auspices of Mr. Adnan Oktar. During the last three years, many politicians and esteemed Rabbis visited Istanbul, not just to express their desire to see Turkey and Israel as good friends, but also to develop the relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Middle East to a new level. Among them was former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

Lately these meetings have become platforms to bringing Turkish and Israeli politicians together so that they can discuss their expectations and mutual good intentions face to face in a warm atmosphere and in the spirit of brotherhood.

Here are some highlight from the latest TV appearance of Turkish and Israeli politicians:

Adnan Oktar:

Israel and Turkey have always had a longstanding friendship, ever since the time of the Ottomans. They have always loved each other and always protected and watched over for each other. This has always been like this and will always be like this. From time to time, we might have some slight breezes, but there will never be a fall out in the basis of our friendship. Very beautiful, very nice, very pleasant days are very imminent, insha’Allah…

Israel and Turkey will forge an alliance as strong as steel and bring peace, love and tranquility to the region and put an end to terror and anarchy… [Within the great unity that will be formed] every state will be independent, both in their domestic affairs and in their international affairs. Yet there will be a complete alliance in regard to love, in regard to affection, friendship and brotherhood. We will see the sons of the Prophet Israel, the sons of the Prophet Jacob in Jordan and in Egypt; we will see them everywhere. We will see that they will be living freely everywhere in the world and also in that region. That is because the wars will come to an end. The conflicts will come to an end, passport requirements will be lifted, visa requirements will be lifted. Unnecessary tensions would weaken us. Friendship and love would strengthen us. Allah wants love from us and we will, insha’Allah, abide by this command of Allah.

… This century is the century of deliverance. There is no other time anyway. We have entered the time that has been heralded in the Torah. In the Qur’an, in the 55th verse of the Surat An-Nur, Almighty Allah says that the whole world will be saved. And in the Torah, when we look at it, we see that it is stated at length that we’ve entered the time of the Maschiah. For that reason our hearts should be completely at ease. These developments, these portents, are both the portents of the appearance of the Mashiach and the portents of love and peace prevailing in the world… Democracy and liberty will come to everywhere. Science and arts will prevail everywhere. After a while we will do away with the weapons as well, there will be no weapons, there will be no wars. We will go to Jerusalem to have dinner and we will go have our dinner in Tehran the next night, the next day we will go to Algeria and have discourses in Casablanca during dinner. Allah has given the whole world to us insha’Allah. We will all together see those beautiful days by the will of Allah. Almighty Allah has given a glad tiding to the children of the Prophet Jacob (pbuh), to the children of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) in the Qur’an. We all are the children of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh), we all are.

… All these problems between Turkey and Israel will calm down, all of them would be solved. All of them are transient, I mean in a very short period of time these will all be solved. Turkey and Israel will make the whole region become more devout, more prosperous and they will strive to attain widespread democracy, human rights, compassion, love and affections. We will turn the region into a more beautiful place than Europe, insha’Allah. There won’t be any wars or dissension. We will do away with those walls in Israel, you know those stone walls. You will be very comfortable, insha’Allah. We will see you in Jordan, in Turkey, all around, insha’Allah. Israel will always be there. There is a verse in the Qur’an. It is the command of Almighty Allah. You will be there, that is the abode of your ancestors. You know, those people who say “You should go and leave!” they are being disrespectful. Do not mind them at all. We love you and we want to see you in that region. All through that 4,000 years of history you were there, you were there in the time of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh), you were there after that. That is the land Allah deemed suitable for you. Almighty Allah wants you to live there. We will live altogether in unity and in joy. We will have our dinner in Jordan in the places the Prophet Moses (pbuh) ate. We will go to Egypt and have our meals in the places where the Prophet Moses (pbuh) had his discourses. These fights are all artificial, they are all completely invalid.

… Once we fill everywhere with brotherhood and love, the rest is easy. When one has his friend, his beloved one by his side, he would have eyes only for affection. The Prophet Abraham (pbuh) received guests he did not know at all and he had a calf slaughtered and had yoghurt brought as well and laid down a most perfect table for them. The Prophet Abraham (pbuh) did not have any personal interest in that. The Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was generous, he never made fine calculations. He resigned himself to Allah.

… The important thing is that there is love. The properties of this world will remain in this world, we do not need the properties of this world. Let there be rejoicing, let there be love, let there a festive air, let there be affection and that would be enough for us. That is what we live for. Loving Allah is important, living for Allah is important, doing things that Allah would be pleased with and feeling the happiness of that is important. If the name of Allah is uttered in enthusiasm let all the wealth we have be spent, it all belongs to Allah anyway. The important thing is to attain this beauty. Look what the Torah says, Zechariah 7:99; “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” Proverbs 16:6 “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord -through the fear of Allah- evil is avoided“. The same is in the Qur’an. “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice…” Hosea 12:6. So that means the goal is love… When we abide by the stipulations of the Qur’an, when we abide by the stipulations of the Torah, it is apparent that we will be living very well. Keep your hearts at ease. Both the children of the Prophet Abraham and the children of the Prophet Isaac and the children of the Prophet Ishmael, those are the children of the Prophet Jacob, we are all living very closely, we are together. All these are transient. You will, insha’Allah, see that the Mavi Marmara incident will be solved in the coming days. We’ve been receiving very good news one after the other… We want peace, friendship, democracy, goodness. We want to become prosperous all together and we want to live a beautiful life all together. That is what we want.

Knesset Member Rabbi Nissim Zeev:

Turkish President Gül, in a recent interview said that Turkey should carry out “virtuous power”. This means that it is “a power that gives priority to the safeguarding of human rights and interests of all the human beings.” Now in Hebrew. If Turkey becomes a virtuous power, this would make Turkey an admirable role model. Turkey’s goal as a “virtuous power” could start with the peace process in the Middle East. I suggest that Turkey could take the lead in helping to achieve peace in the Middle East by assuring the human rights of all the people of the Middle East. I am appealing to the Turkish people and the government of Turkey to adopt President Gul’s idea of “virtuous power” and to return to the historic friendship and alliance between the Jewish people and the people of Turkey which begins in Harran with the Prophet Abraham and to help us bring peace in the Middle East which will be a model for the whole world. We have come to Istanbul to work together with our Turkish colleagues through the cordial hospitality and courageous initiative of Mr. Adnan Oktar to find ways to return to the historic friendship and alliance between Israel and Turkey. It is only through this historic relationship that we can together bring peace to all the people of the Middle East… We need you. We need a person like you that he has the power and to make the realization of friendship between Turkey and Israel and is good for all the countries in the Middle East. I really thank you again for the work you do.

Former Minister Prof. Dr. Shimon Shetreet:

I was very impressed by your quotation from the Bible about love, about peace, about unity. And I think the vision of the prophets in the Bible should be the basis of the dream that you’ve just described. The dream of creating a better world for us, a better world for our children and particularly a better world and better relations for our two great ancient nations; the Turkish nation and the nation of Israel. And I agree and I share the view of my good colleague that led the discussion today of our dialogue; that we should look to the future. There were negative events, but we should not deal with them too much, we should look to the future and we should see the challenges as opportunities for creating better relations, a better infrastructure for cooperation. And I think what you are doing in emphasizing peace and love and cooperation and unity and positive, not negative things, and helping the other gives us hope and without hope it is not possible to live. With hope there is a great chance for us to build the good world that we need… We have to practice love, cooperation and I want to add that the world was better because of dreamers like you that have dreams. Dreams of peace, dreams of cooperation, dreams of a better world, dreams of electricity, dreams of computers. So I think that we ask you to continue to dream and to continuously show us good dreams that we and others have to practice and materialize.

Former Turkish Foreign Minister Mr. Yasar Yakis:

… When Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent had the wall built around Jerusalem, he had the following inscription engraved on a stone on one of the entrance gates; “La ilaha illa Allah, Ibrahim habibullah.” Instead of “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad ar-Rasul Allah (There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of God),” seeing that Jerusalem is the center of all religions and they all come from the religion of the Prophet Abraham, he used a statement that embraces all three religions that we know to be the Abrahamic religions, divine religions equally by saying “La ilaha illa Allah, İbrahim Habibullah (There is no god but Allah, Abraham is beloved of Allah)”, by saying Abraham is a very much loved servant of Allah. Consequently, I believe that this short statement expresses the approach that should prevail in the future, both in respect of the status of Jerusalem, and of other places within the region.

Strengthening Am Yisrael

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The Jewish Press is proud to announce a new monthly column by the founder of the Shas Party, Member of Knesset Rabbi Nissim Zeev. In 1983, Rabbi Zeev, principal of Nevat Israel, Jerusalem’s first Sephardic Girls’ Seminary, initiated the creation of the “Sephardi Torah Guardians” as a local political party in Jerusalem with the aim of becoming a national party in 1983. Since that day his name appears as in the official registrar documentation as the Chairman of Shas, although he has delegated that role in the political sphere to Rabbi Peretz, then Arieh Deri and later to Eli Yishai. M.K. Rabbi Zeev is the “voice of Shas” worldwide. Upon the establishment of American Friends of Shas, M.K. Nissim Zeev joins the cadre of Jewish Press columnists to bring our readers insights and inside information on Shas activities and policies.

* * * * *

The weekly Torah portion “Vayeitzei” recounts the journey of our Patriarch Jacob who departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran on a journey which would lead him to start a new family in a personal exile.  On the way, he encountered “the place” which the Midrash says is Mount Moria, the site where Abraham bound Isaac on the altar and where the Beit Hamikdash would later stand.  It is there that the Almighty appeared before him in a dream and said: I am Hashem, G-d of Abraham, your father and G-d of Isaac; the ground upon which you are lying, to you will I give it and to your descendant. Your offspiring shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out powerfully westward, eastward, northward and southward; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your offspring…Behold, I am with you; I will guard you wherever you go, and I will return you to this soil; for I will not forsake you until I will have done what I have spoke to you about”.

 

In these few verses, the Torah outlines the story of the history of the Jews and the times of exile from the Holy Land. Sforno comments that Hashem’s reference that the Jewish people will be “as the dust of the earth” is connected to the text in Isaiah 51:23 – only after the Jewish people have become as degraded as the dist of the earth – “shall they spread out powerfully westward, eastward, northward and southward”.

 

As the founder of Nevat Israel, the first Sephardic Girl’s Seminary in Jerusalem in 1979, I realized that without political influence, the Sephardic community in Israel would not be able to develop its educational institutions. I established the Shas Party in 1983 as a national movement which at first ran very successfully for the elections in the Jerusalem Municipality, where I served for many years as Deputy Mayor, and later became national and ran for elections in the Knesset. The goal of the Shas Party from the onset was to be under the spiritual guidance of  the Rishon Letzion, Rabbi Ovadia Yoseph and the Council of Rabbinical Sages under his leadership. Rav Shach z”l was instrumental in agreeing to this initiative and supporting it.  This is what differentiates the Shas party from previous Sephardic movements. The goal of the Shas Party is to serve the interests and all edot hamizrach, Sephardic Jews – while striving for unity among all of Am Yisrael. As noted by the journalist Abraham Rabinovich in a feature article in the Jerusalem Post:  “Shas represents an indigenous product sprung from the religious-political soil of modern Israel”.

 

While Shas has had great achievements in its goals for the Sephardic Jews in Israel in all areas of education and education and social justice, may challenges lie ahead in its activities in Israel.  At the same time, Am Yisrael in the diaspora is facing great spiritual and physical threats and Am Yisrael is again being degraded as noted in the Sforno commentary.. The Jewish identity of the young generation needs to be strengthened through education and spiritual guidance, and the Jewish communities face renewed threats of anti-semitism and the rise of fundamentalist Islam.  It is time for Shas to spread its wings and work with its brethren who are spread in the “west, the east, the south and the north” of the globe. We are taking the first step with the launching of American Friends of Shas in New York this week.  I invite all our brethren to join forces with us “so that the nations of the world shall bless themselves through Am Yisrael” in the words of the Torah…..

 

Inquiries and comments: friendsofshas@yahoo.com

Status Normal

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008


         Have you noticed that some problems just won’t go away? Too often we get used to a problem, become immobilized, and lose the will to fight.

 

         The Israeli government, for example, is aware that murderous rockets are raining down daily on the Israeli towns of Sderot, Ashkelon and environs. These rockets are fired by the Arabs of Gaza. The regularity of the attacks has dulled the senses of our Israeli leaders. Like murders and muggings in New York, the rocket attacks are rarely reported and are treated like a normal course of events.

 

         It is pathetic that these “leaders” sit back in their peaceful cities and claim that nothing can be done. These “leaders” rationalize that retaliation will increase the rocket attacks. So they sit on their hands and do little or nothing. Is there any other country in the world that would suffer such attacks on its citizenry?

 

         The rocket attacks can and must be stopped immediately, with no further negotiations, even if it means that quasi-innocent Arab civilians are placed in jeopardy.

 

         Israel’s prime minister seems to be more intent on staying out of prison for his financial machinations than he is concerned about the physical, psychological and financial suffering of the citizens of Sderot.

 

         In most civilized countries, accusations of corruption and bribery (especially with the testimony of the individual who handed him bags of cash) would have led to the prime minister’s immediate resignation. Outraged citizens would be taking to the streets, demanding that the prime minister resign. The free press would loudly condemn the government ministers so tightly glued to their government seats that they refuse to oust an accused prime minister. Yet, in Israel, the situation is treated as acceptable and normal.

 

         Is the prime minister so uncivilized that he will retain his seat despite the testimony and accusations? Will he be allowed to surrender parts of Israel in order to reduce the pressure on him to resign? Is the Shas party, and the liberal left, so corrupt that they close a blind eye to what is happening? Aren’t the political leaders embarrassed enough by the prime minister‘s behavior? Why is the Shas Party so quiet? Why is the media almost silent? Where is the “morality” of the Labor Party? Are government jobs so important that nothing else matters?

 

         The whole situation is just too unbelievable.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/status-normal/2008/06/18/

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