The ghost of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Arye Deri appear on Eretz Nehederet Wednesday night.
(photo credit: SCREENSHOT/KESHET 12)
Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef harshly criticized the satire show Eretz Nehederet on Thursday for its depiction of his father, the late chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
“As a Jew, as a rabbi, as a son and as a human I am appalled and ashamed at the terrible clownery and horrible disgrace that was aired last night about my father,” the chief rabbi said on Thursday.
On the latest episode of the sketch comedy show, which aired Wednesday evening on Keshet 12, the late rabbi appeared as a ghost alongside Shas chairman Arye Deri.
“They said I would rest for eternity, and this guy wakes me up every minute,” the character portraying Ovadia Yosef said in the show. The satirical Deri told him that he needs his help because their polls aren’t good: “What are polls even? It’s like my age – they just throw out a number,” the ghost Yosef replied. “On election day, [Deri] asks me to bring 500 dead people to vote for him.”
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the son of Ovadia Yosef, who died in 2013, called the show a disgrace.
“This is not an ‘Eretz Nehederet’ [Wonderful Land], this is a land that consumes its people,” he said, referring to the biblical story of the 12 spies. “Those who scorn the dead will have no cure for death, and those who show contempt for the dead have greatly sinned,” Yosef said Thursday. “Anyone who took part in this will face judgement in heaven.”
Earlier in the day, the Shas Party also criticized the show’s depiction.
“Eretz Nehederet should be fully condemned for its disgraceful mockery of the holy Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,” the party said, using the title reserved for exceptionally respected rabbis. “The time has come for the editors of entertainment shows to understand that there is a community outside of the borders of [Tel Aviv’s] Rothschild Boulevard, a community that is connected to tradition and to rabbis, and knows there are things that are not appropriate to laugh at. They would never treat their secular intellectuals in such a way.”
A spokeswoman for Eretz Nehederet argued that the sketch was not making fun of religion.
“The likeness of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef OBM was used in the show because of the decision by the Shas Party to use him in their election campaign,” the spokeswoman said Thursday. “In the same sketch, the character of the late Menachem Begin also appeared. The sketch wasn’t about religion, but was about the use of deceased leaders in election campaigns by Shas, Kulanu and Meretz.”
Activists in the Shas Party called for a protest Thursday evening outside the Keshet 12 offices in Tel Aviv against those who chose “to degrade and mock Maran and his legacy.”
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