Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef implored God to “wipe out and destroy”
Iran and Hezbollah during his weekly sermon on Saturday night.
the second time in a row in which Yosef has spoken about the threat of Iran’s
nuclear program during his post-Shabbat Torah lesson.
It follows a
briefing he was given by National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror on the Iranian
issue 10 days ago, which was seen as part of an effort from the Prime Minister’s
Office to obtain the rabbi’s support for the government’s position on the
Speaking on Saturday night, Yosef talked about the tradition on
the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, of eating various fruits and vegetables as
positive portents for the year ahead.
“When we make the blessing on the
dates that ‘our enemies and haters should be ended’ we should have in mind the
Iranian regime, those evil people who threaten Israel,” the rabbi
“Do good, God, wipe them out, kill them,” he entreated, to which
the assembled crowd answered “amen.”
“When eating the leek,” also
traditionally eaten as part of the symbolic service for a good coming year, “and
when we say that our enemies, foes and anyone who desires to do evil to us
should be cut off, we should have in mind Hezbollah and Iran,” Yosef
“Destroy them God, obliterate them from the face of the earth,” he
said, adding a verse from the Book of Psalms: “Some call on chariots and horses,
but we will invoke the name of God our Lord, they collapse and fall down but are
risen and gather strength.”
Shas political leader and Interior Minister
Eli Yishai has been thought until now to be opposed to a unilateral Israeli
strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, a stance most likely dictated by Yosef, who
determines all major policy positions for the party.
It is thought that
the meeting between Amidror and Yosef at the rabbi’s house, attended by Yishai,
was part of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s efforts to gain Shas support for
Yishai is a member of the inner security cabinet of nine
ministers, which, it is believed, is split down the middle on whether or not to
Four members are supposedly in favor, including Netanyahu, and
four against, including Yishai.
Newly appointed Home Front Defense
Minister Avi Dichter is believed to be undecided.
Last Saturday night, in
reference to a Persian enemy of the Jewish people recorded in the Book of
Esther,Yosef said that “a second Haman, also from Persia, intends to do evil to
“We are in danger, all of us are in danger. We have no one to rely
on apart from our Father in heaven,” said Yosef.