Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and his preaching

Edna Yaghi’s Column


It is an irony that the Israeli Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has chosen the time to make his racist statements in a hateful sermon just before the Jewish Passover. The Passover itself was God’s protection of the Hebrew people from the ancient Egyptians. Prophet Moses safely led the flight of the Hebrews from Egypt which took them across the Red Sea.

But the ancient Hebrews were often rebellious and ungrateful for God’s favors. Rabbi Yosef is a man who is not only rebellious and ungrateful but he seeks gain in evil. Surely he cannot think that God will favor him or forgive him for his sermon which calls for the annihilation of Arabs.

One thinks of religious leaders as those who advocate peace and an end to war. Any religious leader who has a conscience would at least ask the Israeli military to restrain themselves and not shoot, shell, or attack Palestinian civilian areas by ground to ground missiles.

The world has conveniently forgotten how Prophet Jesus was betrayed by a Jew and how the Jews led him to what they thought was his crucifixion. And Jesus is not the only prophet that the Jews killed or tried to kill, but one of an endless succession.

This is not about hatred for the Jews, for if it were, it would be hypocritical to ask for compassion on the one hand for Arabs and Palestinians and on the other to state that all Jews are evil. But all Zionists are indeed evil and Rabbi Yosef is as evil as they come.

But it is not just vile religious leaders like Rabbi Yosef that cause a great deal of concern. There are others whose radical voices speak out in daring discourses that call for the expulsion or mass murder of Palestinians too. Ultra-nationalist Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi also proposed the expulsion of all Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, likening Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Adolf Hitler. Perhaps the Israeli leaders are so intoxicated with their own arrogance that they fail to see the truth. How can Arafat be like Hitler? Where are the Jews that he has killed? Where are his gas chambers and his concentration camps? Where are his military tanks and his gunboat helicopters? Where are his heavily armed troops supplied with the latest of American made weapons?

The neo-Hitlers are the Israelis who at every turn, at every opportunity, find new ways to suppress, torture and slaughter Palestinians. It is not Arafat who has dug trenches around Israeli cities, but the Israelis who have surrounded and isolated Palestinian enclaves and made them no better than Jewish ghettos and concentrations camps of old.

The victim of Hitler’s atrocities have in turn victimized the Palestinians. Two wrongs can never make a right and there is no reason on earth why the Palestinians have to be punished simply because they were born on their own land.

Perhaps the world is blinded by the hate of such people as Rabbi Yosef and Zeevi. But this blindness will not last forever and one day the truth will out.

And then there is the hardliner Israeli Security Minister Uzi Landau who told reporters in occupied Jerusalem that Arafat is like Saddam Hussein. He also said that Arafat uses his media and school system to inculcate Palestinians children with anti-Israeli sentiments.

“He teaches kids from a very young age to jihad for Jerusalem, jihad in order to annihilate Israel,” Landau said. He went on to say that, “The Palestinian entity (has) systematically raised up their kids to portray the Jews as Satan on earth, as the plague of the third millennium, as the enemy of mankind.”

But Arafat does not have to teach the Palestinian children anything. They learn this every day when Israelis shoot at them, when Israelis kidnap them, when Israelis send them to prison and torture them, when Israelis kill them off. No school could be better or more effective than life itself. And the only people whose existence is threatened is the Palestinians, certainly not the Israelis who for the most part are safe and secure in their distant homes from all the slaughter that takes place on Palestinian streets and in Palestinian homes. If anybody is raised to hate and to annihilate another, it is the Israelis who teach their children this.

It is not Arafat we have to fear, even though he may be inept. It is such religious leaders as Rabbi Yosef and Prime Minister Sharon, the hyena Shimon Peres and Landau.

To further contradict himself, Landau defended international criticism of Israeli plans to build 700 new homes in illegal Jewish settlements built on Palestinian land in the West Bank. He said that such developments were the result of natural population growth. It is ok to import Jews and export Palestinians in Landau’s view.

In his sermon that calls for the annihilation of Arabs, Rabbi Yosef stated, “It is forbidden to be merciful to them, you must give them missiles, with relish-annihilate them. Evil ones, damnable ones.”

It is here that one must wonder who should be done away with, who is evil and who is damnable. I personally would cast my vote for Rabbi Yosef. But I will leave his retribution up to God.

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