Israeli Rabbi: "Palestinians should die"
2010-08-30 0:00

By Jeffrey Heller | Reuters.com

An influential Israeli rabbi has said God should strike the Palestinians and their leader with a plague, calling for their death in a fiery sermon before Middle East peace talks set to begin next week.

"Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this earth," Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual head of the religious Shas party in Israel’s government, said in a sermon late on Saturday, using Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s popular name.

"God should strike them and these Palestinians -- evil haters of Israel -- with a plague," the 89-year-old rabbi said in his weekly address to the faithful, excerpts of which were broadcast on Israeli radio on Sunday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu distanced himself from the comments and said Israel wanted to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians that would ensure good neighbourly relations.

"The comments do not reflect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s view or the position of the government of Israel," Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

The Iraqi-born cleric has made similar remarks before, most notably in 2001, during a Palestinian uprising, when he called for Arabs’ annihilation and said it was forbidden to be merciful to them.

He later said he was referring only to "terrorists" who attacked Israelis. In the 1990s, Yosef broke with other Orthodox Jewish leaders by voicing support for territorial compromise with the Palestinians.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Yosef’s latest comments were tantamount to calling for "genocide against Palestinians". The rabbi’s remarks, he said, were "an insult to all our efforts to advance the negotiations process".

Arriving at Netanyahu’s office for a weekly cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai of Shas declined to comment when asked by reporters about Yosef’s sermon.

Netanyahu and Abbas are due to resume direct peace talks in Washington on Thursday, the first such negotiations in 20 months in a peace process that commits both sides to avoid incitement, which has included anti-Jewish sermons by Palestinian clerics.

Article from: in.reuters.com

Top Image: Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef. Photo by: Daniel Bar-On



Related Articles
U.S.: Rabbi’s ’offensive’ remarks harm peace efforts


Latest News from our Front Page

The Unsafe Child: Less Outdoor Play is Causing More Harm than Good
2015-09-02 0:39
The third grade classroom that was visiting our nature center for the day consisted of mostly boys–rowdy, loud and rambunctious boys. As we started out into the woods, the children spoke loudly to each other in anticipation of what was to come. After playing a quick game and explaining the ground rules, it was time for free play. As soon ...
Rights group demand police need warrant to access data
2015-09-01 23:48
American citizens should be able to rest safe in the knowledge that no one has the right to pry into their digital records, where they have been and how long they stayed there. The Supreme Court has just received a brief from the Electronic Frontier Federation (EFF) stating that this should certainly be the case. However, in the case of Davis v. ...
Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities
2015-09-01 23:33
Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as this city [Milwaukee]. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this year–after 86 homicides in all of 2014. More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ...
Bulgaria - Islamic State Terrorists Caught Crossing Into Europe Posing As Refugees
2015-09-01 23:47
Bulgarian authorities near the Gyueshevo border checkpoint detained the five men, aged between 20 and 24, late on Wednesday, Bulgarian broadcaster NOVA TV reported. The men were stopped by a border guard, who they attempted to bribe with a “wad of dollars.” However, they were searched and Islamic State propaganda, specific Jihadists prayers and decapitation videos were found on their phones. In ...
How This NY Mom Made the Case for Her Son’s Religious Vaccine Exemption
2015-09-01 22:27
An unidentified, Russian immigrant mother who practices the Russian Orthodox faith, has secured a religious vaccine exemption for her autistic son. New York has a bill on the table to eliminate religious exemption and to root out those who weren’t refusing vaccines on strictly devout, religious grounds. Yet, this woman’s plight goes back before talk of eliminating the exemption – two ...
More News »