There is the non-believer, who has a nasty nihilistic outlook.
There is the non-believer who still seeks positivity in the world.
There is the believer who employs a rational, utilitarian and liberal mindset.
And there is the believer who lives in an anachronistic, ridiculous, fundamentalist haze of long-debunked dogma.
The Iraqi born, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel and spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ascribes the recent disaster on the Carmel which claimed one-third of the National Park’s ecological splendor, and 43 lives, to desecration of Shabbat.
â€œFires only happen in a place where Shabbos is desecrated”
He said, quoting from the Talmud.
“Homes were ruinedâ€¦entire neighborhoods wiped out, and it is not arbitrary. It is all divine providenceâ€¦We must repent, keep Shabbos appropriately. When the People of Israel repent, God safeguards them with a wall of fire.”
Rabbi Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Hevron and Kiryat Arba said the fire was Divine punishment for giving away parts of the land of Israel to terrorists.
Only God knows what God thinks but here is what I can tell you:
For years, Israeli firefighters have complained of undersized crews, outdated equipment and minimal supplies. Israel only has 1,400 firefighters, far below the worldwide average. Israel does not have a single firefighting plane; and emergency crews actually ran out of flame retardants on the first day of the disaster.
The state’s Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, is responsible for Israel’s firefighting forces.
He refuses, though, to assume blame for the disaster which took 83 hours, at least, to extinguish and demanded assistance from several nations, including Palestinians. Yishai, amid the blaze, accused Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and treasury officials of turning down his requests to increase the firefighting budget.
Meanwhile, negligence, not intentional arson, seems to be the cause of the fire.
A 14-year-old resident of the Druze village, Usfiya, is suspected of igniting the inferno by throwing away a charcoal from a water pipe. Authorities are declining to confirm that an additional 13-year-old resident of the town has been questioned in recent hours.
It is not important how I vote. I feel that all political parties in Israel have positive and negative aspects of their platforms, from which one can draw from to shape their own political agendas and ideologies. My own political outlooks, which I shall stray from arrogantly disclosing, are a healthy amalgamation of what ideas are available.
Be they Arab astronauts, Zionist settlers, Peaceniks, Tamini, Ethiopian or Tibetan Messianic Jews from China, the members of a democracy such as the State of Israel, should keep an open mind to all of the views and opinions flowing freely through the Knesset and the media. This is how one becomes educated in an ever-shrinking pluralist community.
So without stating my own personal political convictions, I propose to my open-minded, intelligent and gracious readers the following question: Is it just me, or has Shas, in the last year, gone absolutely mad? Really. It is embarrassing.
The party’s platform is as follows:
Israel is the Jewish people’s state and Jewish identity must be preserved when it comes to decision-making, while curbing moves that see “a country of all its citizens” emerging.
Shas does not call for a state based on religious law, rather, “a state with a Jewish soul” where Jewish character is preserved within state laws.
Every diplomatic question on the agenda has Halachic answers. These are to be determined by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
Shas pledges to set objectives for minimizing unemployment and rewarding employers; assisting women and sectors that need support; and forming a socioeconomic convention in order to create a common denominator for all market forces.
Shas will work to integrate Jewish tradition into the education system.
When Carlo Strenger of Haaretz and Tel Aviv University, earlier this year, mentioned in one of his columns, Israel’s systematic oppression of Sephardic Jewry b’Eretz, he was kidding. He was testing the nation’s public’s intelligence and, and, and sanity! Right Dr. Strenger? Because if he wasn’t he was fueling a dangerous fire: the very same fundamentalist bullshit which is poisoning the Shomrei Torah Sephardim (Sephardi Torah Guardians), also known as Shas political party.
Earlier this year, the party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, said:
â€œGoyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world â€“ only to serve the People of Israelâ€¦”
Which may or may not be true â€“ but it is not the kind of hate-speech one spits in such a widely public forum, especially while the country is struggling to make itself understood among the “Goyim.”
According to the Shas spiritual leader:
â€œIn Israel, death has no dominion over them… With gentiles, it will be like any person â€“ they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that oneâ€™s donkey would die, theyâ€™d lose their money. This is his servant… Thatâ€™s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew. Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created.”
As if he were reading right from the lying pages of Mein Kampf and affirming it all, right there. The Torah never included such hate speech.
This is after insulting the religious Ashkenazi population by publicly forbidding Sephardic Jews from hearing the Megillah read by an Ashkenazi during Purim.
Rabbi Ovadia, isn’t it time we forget what sets us apart culturally, instead of what binds us?
Furthermore, Yosef embarrassed the state last Rosh HaShannah when he issued the following statement, blemishing the Holiness of the day:
â€œOur enemies and haters may come to an end, Abu Mazen and all these villains â€“ may the Holy One, Blessed Be He, afflict them with the plagueâ€¦ these evil enemies of Israelâ€¦ “
No, no, no! We may not trust Abu Mazen, not always, but don’t say THAT! That’s stating the obvious! Anyway, doesn’t the Blessed Rabbi intend these wishes for the Hamas regime, rather than the more moderate Palestinians? Furthermore, I happen to know some Palestinians, whom I don’t want to perish!
This hate-speech is just the tip of the iceberg. Supporting party leader, Eli Yishai’s movement to expel the children of foreign workers, is just another example of what makes the “Shas” party a mixed bag of nuts.
Won’t somebody change this Jew’s diapers before the stench begins to ruin the country’s spiritual reputation!
Spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef made a public wish during his Rosh Hashana sermon that
â€œour enemies and haters may come to an end, Abu Mazen and all these villains â€“ may the Holy One, Blessed Be He, afflict them with the plague… these evil enemies of Israel.â€
Abu Mazen is the same as Mahmoud Abbas.
Nissim Ze’ev, a veteran Knesset representative for the Shas said on Sunday that the Rabbi was misunderstood:
â€œHe means that the Holy One, Blessed Be He should end the hatred that the villains harbor against us. It is easy to interpret what he said as meaning that we do not want peace, but this is untrue. The Rabbi supports negotiations for peace. The Jewish people has many enemies and the Rabbi does not mean to say that all of them should be annihilated, just that their hatred for us should end.â€
Hilmi al-Ghoul, an â€œadviser on national mattersâ€ to the chief of the Palestinian Authority said that Rabbi Ovadiah’s â€œracistâ€ pronouncements, pronounced on the eve of resumption of direct talks between the Jewish Country and the PA, under American auspices, sends a message to the world that the Jews refuse to accept the â€œtwo state solution.â€
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party, had a go at Mahmous Ahmadinejad, during his weekly Saturday evening sermon. He called the Iranian president the “Haman of our generation” referring to the upcoming Purim holiday, and added the he “can go to hell”.
The rabbi, whose address was centered on the laws of Purim, spoke about the followers of Haman, the grand vizier of Persia.
“In every generation we have Hamans,”
“Now we have a new Haman in Persia, threatening us with his nukes.”
He went on to further curse the Iranian leader, using verses from the Bible.
In the halachic part of his sermon, Rabbi Yosef made the ruling that Sephardic students in Ashkenazi yeshivot should not take part in the prayer quorum on the Saturday before Purim in order to read the “Zachor” Torah portion separately, in keeping with their custom.
He explained that listening to the verses, which discuss Amalek’s war on Israel, is a Torah mitzvah and therefore each person must do it according to the common pronunciation of their own community.
Rabbi Yosef did not miss an opportunity to tease the Ashkenazim. After imitating the way they read that Torah portion, he said,
“The Sephardim’s pronunciation is the real one. Their accent is wrong. But they insist. They’re stubbornâ€¦ They don’t want to change. Even their Ashkenazim testify that our pronunciation is the right one, the truth.”