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Israel Chieff Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef Calls Secular Jews ‘Stupid’

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef is the son of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef who was himself a chief rabbi of Israel.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (Wikipedia)

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi, offended secular Jews the world over by basically calling them stupid people who lead unfulfilled lives. The comments came as part of a weekly lesson he gave over the weekend and they were later posted on social media.

“A person who eats non-kosher food, his brain becomes stupid, he can’t understand things, doesn’t get it. As soon as he starts keeping kosher, you can start to influence him,” said Yitzhak Yosef.

“We need to encourage them, bring them closer and bring them back to repentance. I am at the court, receiving cases and seeing what is happening in the secular public. They are dangerous. They have no satisfaction in life,” he added. “All for the lust of this world. It’s unbelievable, but they need to be brought closer together. What God’s blessing is being done by all kinds of different organizations that bring them closer together – bringing them back in repentance. That’s what needs to be done and that’s what Maran did.”

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Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef went on to claim that secular Israelis are jealous of the religious people and that this jealousy causes them to hate the ultra-orthodox. Not that they resent the fact that the ultra-orthodox do not serve in the military and get extra subsidies at government expense to fund their communities.

The leader of the opposition in the Knesset and former Prime Minister of Israel Yair Lapid was livid. Lapid could not believe what he heard and accused Rabbi Yosef of cursing Israel’s secular population.

“In his words this evening Rabbi Yosef changed the definition of his position,” he tweeted. “He is not the chief rabbi of Israel, but the rabbi of a loud minority who curses from the stands at millions of Jews who serve in the army, risk and sacrifice their lives, work and keep this country alive. He was right about one thing – they felt a little stupid tonight when they remembered that they were the ones paying his salary.”

All this is happening as the government is planning on allotting taxpayers’’ money to the ultra-orthodox parties to fund campaigns aimed at deterring people from their communities from serving in the army. The ultra-orthodox in Israel avoid the military draft by studying in yeshivas (Tora academies) indefinitely. While some choose to serve in the IDF, the ultra-orthodox leaders discourage this and even condemn those who serve.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the son of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef who was himself a chief rabbi of Israel, also serves as the rosh yeshiva (dean) of Yeshivat Hazon Ovadia, and the author of a set of books on halakha (Jewish law) called Yalkut Yosef. His books are considered foundational among large sectors of Sephardic Jews in Israel and the world.

In 2013, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef was elected Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel. Israel has two chief rabbis, one each for its Sephardic (Middle Eastern) and Ashkenazic (European) Jewish communities. He is known for his conservative views on a range of issues, including conversion to Judaism, gender roles, and LGBTQ rights. He has also been a vocal supporter of the Shas political party, which was founded by his father.



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