Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 224.8.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Shas spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef threatened Monday to fire any school principal from Shas's school system who refused to receive Ethiopian students.
In parallel, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar announced that it was forbidden to send Ethiopian students to secular schools.
"If I was brought into this world only to help the Ethiopians that is enough for me," Yosef said Monday morning, during a meeting with Amar in his home in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood, according to Amar's spokesman.
Amar's spokesman said that Yosef ruled that it was forbidden to integrate the Ethiopians in secular schools because many were Falashmura who were still in the process of converting to Judaism.
"If one of those children comes before a rabbinical court to convert and he or she does not know anything about Judaism it will be problematic," said Amar's spokesman.
Yosef, considered the greatest living Sephardi halachic authority, was the first top-tier rabbi to recognize certain groups among the Ethiopians as full-fledged Jews. Many have been integrated into Shas's Maayan Hahinuch Hatorani school network.
"Anyone who refuses to accept Ethiopians should get up and go home," Yosef said, according to Amar's spokesman.
The spokesman said that in an agreement that had been reached with the Petah Tikva municipality, Shas's schools would help absorb the Ethiopian students.
The meeting Monday morning was attended by Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Atias.