Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tsfat and the son of the late Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, on Sunday posted on YouTube a Saturday night class in which he says last week’s declaration of a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates was nothing short of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies.

“We need to look at the peace that the United Arab Emirates has made with us in a general aspect,” Rabbi Eliyahu said. “There is a prophecy here that is coming true. Suddenly a large majority of the countries of the world want our proximity. More precisely, 85% of the countries in the world have diplomatic ties with Israel, and another 5% have open ties, on the way to becoming diplomatic ties.’


The exceptional thing about the rabbi’s teaching, besides the high value he places on the new relations, is the fact that Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu has long been associated with a staunch, anti-Arab ideology. In May 2007, Rabbi Eliyahu advocated “carpet bombing the general area from which the Kassams were launched, regardless of the price in Palestinian life.” In March 2008, he called for “state-sanctioned revenge” against Arabs. He also urged Jewish the residents of Tsfat not to rent their homes to Arabs, which led to calls for his suspension, and for his prosecution on grounds of racial incitement.

In July 2013, Rabbi Eliyahu’s bid for Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel was resisted by Arab MK Issawi Frej, who petitioned the High Court of Justice asking that Rabbi Eliyahu be disqualified, arguing that the “election of a racist like Eliyahu to the position would be the start of the destruction of values in the State of Israel.”

With that in mind, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu’s assertions about the peace agreements with the Arabs appear even more promising, as he explains the new rise in Israel’s stature in the world with the observation that “everyone knows that the State of Israel is a blessed country.”

“Everyone knows that a connection with the State of Israel brings blessings both on the security level and on the economic level, as well as on the agricultural level and on the technological level. In us is coming true, literally, the verse, ‘And all the families of the earth Shall be blessed through you,’ (Gen. 12:3)” Rabbi Eliyahu said Saturday night.

“This miracle is magnified when we remember that only a hundred years ago the full lamentation of Jeremiah in the Book of Lamentations also came true in us: ‘You have made us filth and refuse In the midst of the peoples (Lamentations 3:45).’ And now it all turns upside down in the last generation when we came to the Land of Israel. As we read this week in the Haftarah, we read the words of Isaiah, Raise a shout together, O ruins of Jerusalem! For God will comfort His people, Will redeem Jerusalem. God will bare His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, and the very ends of earth shall see the victory of our God (Isaiah 52:9-10),” Rabbi Eliyahu said joyously.

Finally, Rabbi Eliyahu said: “We are the literal fulfillment of the verse, ‘Whereas you have been forsaken, rejected, with none passing through, I will make you a pride everlasting, a joy for age after age (Isaiah 60:15).'”


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David writes news at JewishPress.com.