Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's caregiver fired

Shas mentor's family worried after police find woman was romantically involved with a Palestinian.

shas ovadia yosef 248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
shas ovadia yosef 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The family of Shas leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who suffers from a heart condition, fired his caregiver last week after Jerusalem police discovered that she was romantically involved with a Palestinian with a criminal record. The family feared that the woman, a Moldavian national brought to Israel to care for the octogenarian rabbi, was collaborating with a resident of Beit Hanina in northeastern Jerusalem to assassinate Yosef, according to a source close to the family. The family stepped up security and changed the locks in Yosef's Jerusalem apartment, the source said. However, a Jerusalem police spokesman said Sunday that there was no evidence that either the Moldavian or the Palestinian was planning to harm Yosef. "The man she was in contact with has a criminal record and has been implicated in mild security transgressions, but nothing really serious," the spokesman said. The woman, who lost her permit to remain in Israel as a result of the firing, is presently hiding in an attempt to avoid expulsion. The police spokesman added that knowledge of the romance surfaced after an investigation, saying that Yosef is one of many Israeli political figures who receive special security protection. The Shas leader has made disparaging statements about Arabs, turning him into a potential terror target. In April, 2001, he made a comment that was interpreted as advocating the killing of Arabs. Referring to Hamas rocket attacks on Jewish settlements near Gaza, he said it was "forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. The Lord shall reciprocate the Arabs' deeds, waste their seed and exterminate them, devastate them and cause them to vanish from the world." A Shas spokesman later said Yosef had been referring to "Arab murderers and terrorists," and not to all Arabs. Nevertheless, the comments enraged Palestinian leaders. In April, 2005, three Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were arrested for plotting to kill Yosef. The PFLP was responsible for the 2001 assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi. One of the conspirators, Mussa Darwish, 22, a resident of the eastern Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Isawiya, learned the location of Yosef's home while working as a delivery man for a local grocery store, and passed on the information to the PFLP.