Shas supporters verbally abused Deputy Religious Services Minister Rabbi Eli
Ben-Dahan outside the mourners tent for Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Wednesday
Ben-Dahan of Bayit Yehudi first entered the tent, sat with the
Yosef’s sons and spoke with them about his meeting with the rabbi several weeks
Upon leaving the tent, Shas devotees began to shout at Ben-Dahan,
saying “Your yarmulke is a fake,” “Rabbi Ovadia cried because of you people for
half a year,” and “Don’t mention his name.”
This is the second time Shas
supporters attacked Ben-Dahan since Yosef’s death on Monday.
funeral procession for the rabbi that evening, other mourners jostled and
verbally abused Ben-Dahan, along with Construction and Housing Minister Uri
Ariel, also from Bayit Yehudi.
Ben-Dahan’s office said later that the
deputy minister received numerous calls and messages from Shas supporters
apologizing for the incident.
While paying his respects to Yosef’s sons,
the deputy minister said that his meeting with the rabbi had been warm and that
he had expressed friendship toward the national-religious community.
should know that I love you,” Ben-Dahan quoted Yosef as having said to him in
their meeting in the middle of August, adding that the rabbi had commented on
the “greatness” of former Sephardi chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.
and Eliyahu were not on good terms while the latter, who died in 2010, was still
Ben-Dahan added that at the inauguration ceremony for the chief
rabbis at the President’s Residence on August 14, Yosef had said to him, “It’s
very good that you came [to visit], very good.”
The Shas political and
rabbinic leadership has repeatedly attacked Bayit Yehudi and the
national-religious community in the past year, including comments made by Yosef
during the general election campaign that Bayit Yehudi was the “home of
At the enrobing ceremony last month for Sephardi Chief Rabbi
and Yosef’s son Yitzhak Yosef, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, a member of Shas’ Council of
Torah Sages, unleashed a withering attack against Ben- Dahan, who was in
The deputy minister nevertheless spoke about the importance
of unity between the two parties when addressing Yosef’s sons in the mourning
“It’s important that we know at the end of the day that ‘we are all
sons of the same man,’ we have differences of opinion, but we are all brothers,”
said Ben-Dahan. “We need to remember this and continue onward, in unity, for the
sake of the Torah. This is what we are all interested in.”
A Bayit Yehudi
source opined that it was clear from Ben- Dahan’s meeting with Yosef that the
Shas spiritual leader had been “fed” hostile messages regarding the
nationalreligious party by his circle of advisers and that the rabbi had been
much more well disposed to the community than was apparent.
other visitors made their way to the mourning tent on Wednesday, including Labor
and opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich, Transportation Minister Israel Katz,
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and former Ashkenazi chief Rabbi Yona