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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Shas’

Updated: 850,000 Mourners at Rav Ovadia’s Funeral (+Video)

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Approximately 850,000 people – more than 10 percent of Israel’s Jewish population – crowded Jerusalem streets Monday night for the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, forcing the closure of the entrance to Jerusalem from the main highway and resulting in more than 200 of injuries and victims of fainting.

Police were barely in control of the crowds, and police officers expressed hopes that there will not be a tragedy from the cramming of people and cars into small spaces.

It is estimated that one million mourners may pass through the capital before the funeral is over, and that is estimated to be not long before midnight Israeli time. The body of Rav Ovadia arrived at the entrance to the cemetery shortly before 10 p.m., but authorities were having a difficult time to stop thousands of mourners from trying to come close to the grave site. At 11 p.m., five afters the funeral processi0n began, the burial was over.

Hundreds of people simply parked their cars in the middle of the street to reach by foot the funeral procession and burial, next to his wife Margalit at the Sanhedria cemetery. It  is the largest funeral in the history of Israel and may remain such for a long, long time.

Yosef, a widower, is survived by 10 of his 11 children and several dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His son Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef recently was elected as Chief Sephardi Rabbi, a post once held by his father.

Media around the world are reporting on the death of Rav Ovadia, and even the Gulf Times, based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported it.

The Associated Press told its readers, “he was the charismatic face of his Shas party,” one of the most succinct and accurate statements that one could make.

Rav Ovadia was well aware that the Shas party, which he founded, will be without a shepherd after his death. His son Rabbi Yitzchak said that Rav Ovadia’s will stated that there should be no in-fighting over the future of the party.

Knesset Member Aryeh Deri, the charismatic and controversial political leader who has been his heir apparent, cried after the announcement of Rav Ovadia’s death, “How will we go on alone. Who will lead us now? U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro stated, “Rav Ovadia Yosef was a spiritual leader to hundreds of thousands, if not more, a great learner [of Torah] and a wise and learned man, a father to an impressive family and an important contributor to the society and politics of the State of Israel.

“Today in Jerusalem and all across Israel, his supporters and followers mourn him. To them, and first and foremost to his beloved family, I send my condolences. May his memory be blessed.”

 

Crowds at Rav Ovadia's Funeral

Crowds at Rav Ovadia’s Funeral

.Rav Ovadia Funeral   Rav Ovadia Gravesite open  

Shalom Bear contributed to this report.

Rav Ovadia Conscious but Condition Still Serious

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef regained consciousness at Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem Wednesday but his condition remains very serious, doctors said.

He woke up and recognized family members, who helped him put on tefillin. His physician, Dr. Dan Gilon, said that the rabbi may not have suffered brain damage.

The 93-year-old Torah sage and spiritual leader of the Shas Sephardi party has been in and out of the hospital several times this year, but his most recent hospitalization on September 21 was followed by serious deterioration to his health, to the point that were fears he would not survive.

Shas to Sue Gov’t because Haredi City not a National Priority

Monday, August 5th, 2013

The Shas Sephardi said Monday it will file a complaint with the Supreme Court, charging the government with discrimination for removing the Haredi city of Beitar Illit in eastern, Gush Etzion, from its list of national priority communities that receive special benefits.

The government on Sunday placed 91 communties in Judea and Samaria on the list, most of them in areas near the Lebanese and Egyptian borders, and removed Beitar Illit from the list. Also taken off the list were Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Gat, which are predominantly non-Haredi cities, and Harish, near the north-central Mediterranean Coast.

Shas party leader Aryeh Deri screamed “foul” and accused Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid of tilting the list to protect communities where they are popular.

Although politics is blatant every time the government sneezes, Shas’ accusations are more for making political hay with its constituents than for making any logic.

One of the Jewish Home’s strongholds is the heavily Anglo-populated community of Efrat, in Gush Etzion, but it was removed from the list, a move that is not going to win applause for the Jewish Home party. Significantly the government placed on the list three former outposts that were legalized shortly before the last elections.

The new list favors communities that have not enjoyed substantial growth, as opposed to Beitar Illit, Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat and Harish, all of which have grown handsomely thanks to government financial props.

It is an old story of getting used to being on the dole for so long that one forgets how to get along without it.

The Haredi community is learning, painfully because there is no other way, that forever does not last for eternity.

Real state entrepreneur and contractor Ya’akov Hershkop, born in the United States, cried to the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot’s website, “This government is simply cruel. There are no other words to describe what is happening here. Our public is being ‘attacked’ on a daily basis, and they are taking away the milk and bread we have left.

“We will have to take matters into our own hands and seek the support of the Diaspora Jews, who will stand by us. I have no choice but embark – together with the community leaders – on a fund-raising trip abroad. Maybe our salvation will come from there.” Yitzhak Ravitz, chairman of Degel HaTorah’s Beitar Illit chapter and the son of the late Haredi Knesset Member and deputy minister Avraham Ravitz, told the newspaper, “For every apartment here there are a hundred people who want to buy it, and suffocating this city is a foolish act. It is a stupid and irresponsible decision as far as the settlement enterprise is concerned. It is also malicious.”

One question the newspaper did not ask him: If there is such a big demand to live in Beitar Illit, why does it have to be on the national priority list?

Bennett and Jewish Home Soar in Polls, Challenge Likud for Lead

Friday, July 26th, 2013

The Jewish Home party, headed by Trade, Industry and Labor Minister Naftali Bennett, would win only three Knesset seats less than the leading Likud-Beiteinu party If elections were held today according to a new Knesset Channel poll.

Likud would win 22 seats, followed by Jewish Home with 19, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party 16, Labor 15, Meretz 12 and the other parties less than five each.

The poll’s results are missing some data because the total number of the seats allocated to the parties is 15 less than the 120 in the Knesset. Even if 10 are added for the Arab parties, another five are missing.

One questionable statistic is the four seats allocated to Shas, three less than in the previous poll. Shas perennially wins approximately 10 mandates in the polls and usually comes up with one or two more in the elections. In the current Knesset, Shas has 11 seats.

The popularity of Bennett is unquestioned. He eagerly backed national religious Rabbi David Stav for Chief Rabbi and was dealt a severe loss with the solid victory of Haredi Rabbi David Lau.

Bennett lost the battle, but he picked up lots of Brownie points among the public, most of which is fed up with the Haredi domination of the Rabbinate.

The poll also showed that Lapid is holding his own with 16 seats, three less than his party now holds in the Knesset but one more than in the previous toll. Lapid has won support for his campaign for the universal draft, an issue that apparently is more important to the middle class than higher taxes that Lapid has imposed.

The popularity of Labor, headed by Shelley Yachimovich, dropped sharply from the 22 seats it won in the previous poll. It has 15 Knesset Members, the same number it would retain according to this week’s poll.

Meretz’s growing support , with 12 seats compared with the six it now holds, reflects frustration with Yachimovich, who has been far from spectacular.

If elections were held today, Kadima, headed by Shaul Mofaz, would be erased from the political map, which is no surprise.

Tzipi Livni’s Tnuva party would win only three seats, half of the number she now holds, and that also is not much of a surprise. She has no agenda other than opposing Netanyahu and supporting  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Rav Ovadia: I Love Knitted-Yarmulke Jews – But Not their MKs

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Shas party’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said Saturday night he really loves knitted-kippa Jews,” but it’s just their political leaders who are “Amalek” – the eternal enemy of Jews.

The national religious community in Israel now can breathe easier and know that Rav Ovadia really loves them.

Sure, the distinguished  rabbi said last month that national religious Chief Rabbinate candidate Rabbi David Stav is “evil” and an “enemy to Judaism,” but, heck, that was just meant to cheer up Shas’ favorite clientele, the dwindling Sephardi community that still feels oppressed by the elite Ashkenazi community. Indeed they are, but they are equally oppressed by their own leaders. So what better way to keep the common people in line by telling them that the Rabbi really loves Jews, even those who wear a knitted kippa.

But what about Shas Rabbi Shalom Cohen, who said in a sermon a week ago that “as long as there are knit kippot, the [divine] throne is not whole?  That’s Amalek. When will the throne be whole? When there is no knit kippa.”

If a listener thought Rabbi Cohen, who is a member of Shas’ Council of Torah Sages, meant that knitted-kippa Jews are Amalek, he did not understand correctly God forbid he should say such a thing.

Rav Ovadia, who sat silently on the podium as Rabbi Cohen spoke, knows exactly what he really meant.

Sure, Rabbi Cohen said some things against” those rebellious national religious Jews with knitted kippot, but he was only referring to their political leaders, opined Rav Ovadia.

Love, love, love, he said. Love for everyone – with one small exception. It is the political leaders of the knitted-kippa crowd who are problematic.

They not only are problematic. They are the true Amalek, Israel’s eternal enemy dating back to the days of  the Exodus from Egypt.

And who is the real knitted-kippa modern Amalek  of the Jews? None other than Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party, which, unlike Shas, took the daring move in the last elections to  welcome secular Jews as Knesset Members and put the emphasis on nationalist instead of religious.

Rav Ovadia has his grounds for considering Bennett Amalek.

The Jewish Home party is against exempting Haredi youth from IDF service forever. That means that Shas yeshivas would have less youth learning , or at least registered as learning, in their institutions,

If there are less students, there is less money from donors, especially from the Israeli taxpayer whose hard-earned money has been going into black-hat yeshivas for years with the payback that the future Torah scholars and eternal voters for Shas are defending the nation by learning Torah, even if they are just listed as learning and actually working or stashing home.

Now that Rav Ovadia has explained  Rabbi Cohen and has mended ties with the national religious community, except for those enemies of Jews like Bennett, Israel is ready for Tu B’Av, which begins Sunday night.

The Talmud lists it along with Yom Kippur as the most joyous days of the year when, according to the Talmud, that the daughters of Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards and said, “Young man, consider who you choose (to be your wife).” Tu B’Av is the same day of the 40th yearin the desert when the ban was lifted on female orphans marrying into another tribe.

It is the perfect day for a daughter of a Shas rabbi to become engaged to the son of a national religious politician.

And God willing, Rabbi Cohen and Rav Ovadia will perform the marriage ceremony.

‘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.

Shas Finally Selects Chief Rabbi Candidate

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

After much jockeying and infighting, it appears that Shas has finally chosen its candidate for Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. Among the candidates were former Chief Rabbi, Rav Ovadia Yosef’s two sons, as well as Shas leader Arieh Deri’s brother, and the brother of Shas MK Ariel Attias.

In the end Shas chose Rav Ovadiah’s younger son, Rav Yitzchak Yosef to be their candidate. Rav Yitzchak is considered to be a scholar. He is also the son-in-law of the current Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

Rav Amar has been pushing for the appointment of his long time study partner Rav Boaron. Rabbi Boaron is a judge on the Rabbinical Supreme Court in Jerusalem.

What may have helped Rav Ovadia in his decision to select Rav Yitzchak and not his older son, Rav Avraham Yosef, was the investigation that was just opened against him,.

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/shas-finally-selects-chief-rabbi-candidate/2013/07/11/

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