Apology By Shas Spiritual Leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Falls Short
Jerusalem, March 10, 2005...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is disheartened by the apology and explanation proffered by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in response to the outcry raised by many regarding his remarks which intimated that God would give Prime Minister Sharon a "blow and he would die...He will sleep and not get up." Rabbi Yosef made his remarks during a sermon on the Government's disengagement plan.
The Israel Office of the Anti-Defamation League issued the following statement:
Rabbi Yosef's apology and the explanations emanating from his advisors in response to the appropriately large outcry the Rabbi's remarks caused fall far short of what is acceptable and needed in today's charged environment.
This incident is not the first time Rabbi Yosef has called for the death of those with whom he disagrees. Neither Rabbi Yosef nor his advisors seem to have internalized the concept that violent actions based on political or religious beliefs perpetrated by individuals usually start with words. The language used by Rabbi Yosef during his sermon was inciteful and can serve to legitimize violence against the Prime Minister or anyone who disagrees with the policies of the government. That is the vital issue which needs to be addressed by the Rabbi and his followers.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.