ADL Condemns Remarks By Shas Leader Who Says Hurricane Was 'Retribution' for Gaza Pullout
Jerusalem, September 8, 2005…The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned remarks by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on the causes of Hurricane Katrina as “outrageous in the extreme.”
In a sermon, Rabbi Yosef suggested that Hurricane Katrina was “God’s retribution” for President George W. Bush’s support of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza. The Shas leader also reportedly said that the Hurricane was the result of the failure of New Orleans’ Black residents to study Torah.
ADL’s Israel Office issued the following statement:
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s remarks are outrageous in the extreme. While the Gaza disengagement was a painful process for Israel, attempts by those opposed to the withdrawal to cast it as a national tragedy, or even as against the will of God, are deeply disturbing. Rabbi Yosef’s remarks show a profound lack of empathy for the suffering of others, not to mention an extremely warped worldview. It is disturbing that a man of faith would use human suffering and loss to advance a political agenda.
Rabbi Yosef owes an apology to the United States and to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We hope that religious leaders in Israel will condemn his words as insensitive and beyond the acceptable limit for a national dialogue.
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.