In his last will and testament, the late Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef bequeathed almost all of his estate to just one son, Rabbi Moshe Yosef, and his wife, Yehudit.
According to Army Radio, the will was handwritten by Yosef and authorized by his attorney David Glass, and the rabbi repeats on several occasions that the rights of Moshe Yosef to the inheritance should not be contested.
The rabbi’s large property on Kablan Street in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood, which includes a small synagogue, will, however, be divided among his 11 children and is expected to be sold. Its value is estimated to be NIS 10 million.
Yosef’s total wealth is estimated in the tens of millions of shekels, and the rabbi’s decision to leave his other sons out of the will will no doubt generate serious tensions within the family and the clan loyalties built around his offspring.
Moshe Yosef and his wife lived with Ovadia Yosef in his home on Kablan Street for many years and were said to be the most influential people with the famed rabbi.
As well as property and money, Yosef also gave Moshe the rights to his published works as well as ownership of the large archive of handwritten works and his personal library.
Roi Lachmanovitz, a former Shas spokesman, said that the designation of Moshe as inheritor, in particular of the rabbi’s library and publishing rights, gives him increased influence within the Shas party and the Yosef family.
Lachmanovitz noted that it had been Yosef’s other sons who had been chosen for public roles. Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef was nominated by Yosef himself, before he died, to be the new Sephardi chief rabbi, and Rabbi David Yosef was appointed to the Shas Council of Torah Sages after the rabbi passed away.
“Moshe and his wife are returning to the center stage, because whoever has control of the books and library... can direct the [haredi] public, can tell the public what the rabbi meant. They will have increased status because of this,” he said.
Lachmanovitz added that the remaining members of the family, especially the rabbi’s sons, will be disappointed with the will and will not accept it with equanimity.