Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Israel's Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, April 18, 2019.

Israel’s Chief Sephardi Rabbi, Yitzchak Yosef, speaking at at a conference of rabbis held last week in Jerusalem, said that that the State has brought to Israel “masses of complete goyim,” who “vote for all kinds of anti-religious parties,” and suggested this was done on purpose, in order to weaken the political power of the Haredi public, according to Ynet which posted a video of the speech.

Rabbi Yosef said: “Hundreds- or tens-of thousands of Gentiles came to Israel because of the “who is a Jew” law (a reference to the 1970 revised Law of Return – DI). There are many, many non-Jews here, some of them communists, hostile to religion, haters of religion. They are not Jews at all, goyim. Then they vote for parties that incite against the Haredim and against the religion (a reference to Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu party which relies on a massive base of Russian olim – DI).


“They brought them here to our country to be a counter weight against the Haredim,” the Chief Rabbi continued. “So that if there’s an election there won’t be much for the Haredim. That’s why they brought them here to Israel, complete goyim, really complete goyim. Unfortunately, we see the fruits of the incitement they perpetrate.”

Rabbi Yosef later claimed that among the olim families there are some who “go to church every Sunday, go to the monastery.”

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef addressed rabbis who are about to leave as emissaries to Jewish communities in the Diaspora, and advised them not to engage in conversions where they’re going because of the complexity and halakhic sensitivity of the subject. He then attacked state-appointed as well as independent dayanim (rabbinic scholars empowered to sit in judgement), saying they were too lenient with converts.

He suggested the religious community should not automatically recognizing the Jewish status of individuals who have been converted in the state-run conversion courts – which are under his own supervision.

He then attacked Rabbi Haim Amsalem, a former Shas MK who is currently engaged in private conversions. Rabbi Yosef said: “There is some rabbi here in this country, God will have mercy on us, he was once an MK, he traveled to Brazil and made 400 conversions. Like a conveyor belt he was converting. I sent a letter immediately saying all the conversions made by this person were not kosher. He took one city rabbi with him, took him with him, went over there and converted this big an amount.”

He added, “Mostly he converted children, but the problem is with the family. Suppose the mother is a goy and she does not want to convert – how is it possible to convert the child?”

Rabbi Haim Amsalem responded to the above statement and said “it is a tragedy in the head of the rabbinical pyramid in this country sits a chief rabbi who does not know his place, using the power of his mouth to slander and hurt anyone he wants to, all of it under cover of the cloak and the fez. He thinks he’ll earn his place among the rabbis of distinction by slandering and fighting against the accepting and benign conversions, but his words reveal time and again his lack of understanding of conversion laws, moreover – he reveals his ignorance of the rulings on the subject of his own great father, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz’l, which he purports to know and publish about – even in those cases with which he is not well versed.”

“It’s time to tell him: kindly go sit at home and shut up! Do not slander converts and conversions lest the heavens be angry at you and you would suffer,” Rabbi Amsalem continued. “Already one chief rabbi ended up in prison for the mouth he opened about conversions.”

“Soon the term in office of this violent man will end, and we will merit to make the blessing, Thank God, we are rid of this one, of his vulgarity and profanity.”

Rabbi David Stav, chief rabbi of the town of Shoham and chairman of the Tzohar organization, delivered the Ashkenazi, religious-Zionist response to Rabbi Yosef’s diatribe, saying: “It is inconceivable that the head of the rabbinic court system and the rabbis, would spread lies about city rabbis, and express doubts about the credibility of the dayanim of the Chief Rabbinate, only because their positions are different from his own.”

Rabbi Stav noted that “the chief rabbis are responsible for solving the assimilation problem in Israel which is caused, among other things, by their failures in the area of conversions.”


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