Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas political movement, prayed for the well-being of IDF personnel participating in hostilities in the south on Thursday morning, adding supplications that they prevail over the forces arrayed against them.

“We are being greatly troubled by the enemies of the people of Israel, specifically the Palestinians,” Yosef said, following his morning prayer service. “We must pray for our soldiers, the soldiers of the IDF.”

The rabbi then recited a prayer for the safety of Israeli soldiers fighting in Operation Pillar of Defense, calling on God “to bless, guard, preserve, help, strengthen and elevate the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, guardians of the walls.

“May God guard them and deliver them from all trouble and sorrow, and bring them home to a good and peaceful life,” he continued.

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“And may all their enemies fall before them by the sword, as it is written about such evil people: ‘Their swords shall pierce their own hearts and their bows shall be broken,’ amen and amen,” Yosef concluded.

Separately, the dean of Bnei Brak’s Ponevezh Yeshiva Rabbi Gershon Edelstein told his students on Thursday morning that they must “strengthen their Torah studies, because the Torah provides defense and deliverance; it is the only thing that defends and delivers.”

In response to several questions on whether residents of the South should leave their homes, Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, one of the most senior haredi rabbis in the country, replied in the affirmative, telling anyone asking that they should go to Bnei Brak, where he resides.

Edelstein echoed Kanievsky’s comments, saying that in a place where Torah is studied, damage cannot be inflicted, and – in reference to the 1990-1991 First Gulf War, in which Iraqi 42 Scud missiles hit Israel – noted that Bnei Brak was not struck.

“Therefore we should redouble our Torah study because it is the only guarantee and the only defense,” Edelstein said.

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