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Monday, January 07, 2013 

The opposite of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: his son Yaakov

Unlike Shas's spiritual leader, his own son, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, who was expelled from the party in 1988 after he accused the leaders of corruption, takes a much different path than his irresponsible father, and the younger Yosef also favors the importance of pikuach nefesh:
A group of 350 rabbis is calling on all the parties to submit pledges to resist returning any part of Eretz Israel.

An announcement currently being distributed by 350 Israeli rabbis, calling on all parties to commit to never giving up any portion of Eretz Israel could be influencing the future of Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition maneuvers, should he end up, as predicted, at the role of Israel's next prime minister.

Members of the Rabbinical Congress "Pikuach Nefesh" (a principle in Jewish law that the preservation of human life overrides almost all other considerations) have called on all the political parties taking part in the January 22 elections to sign a clear statement in which they pledge to oppose in the Knesset and in government any proposal that includes withdrawal from the territories of Eretz Israel, and to refuse to sit in the government and the coalition should they be leading such moves.

In recent weeks, the rabbis have sent the text of these pledges to every party leader, asking for their signatures. [...]

In this context it is interesting to note that Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, eldest son of Rishon Lezion, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual mentor of Shas, has signed on to the call for anti-withdrawal party pledges, adding that the obligation to sign such a commitment applies especially to Torah observant political parties and individual MKs, based on the Shulchan Aruch, rabbinical Judaism's essential legal text.

Rabbi Yosef cited the Shulchan Aruch as saying it is a serious danger to even discuss the possibility of withdrawal from any part of Eretz Israel.

"There is neither a point nor a reason to oppose the word of God, this is the law," explained Rabbi Yosef. "Even a party that cares for the poor, for yeshivas, or for keeping the Sabbath – if there is reasonable suspicion that it would end up supporting withdrawal from parts of the Land of Israel – do not vote for them. Preservation of life overrides the entire Torah, plain and simple."

The Rabbinic Congress chairman, Rabbi Yosef Gerlitzki, explained that the rabbis have no connection to any particular party. "We present to the people of Israel the halachic position only. The law requires us as rabbis do so. The law says about endangering lives, the principle of 'the very asking is obscene' – meaning that one must immediately prioritize saving lives over other concerns."
The younger Yosef, unlike his father, is a man to admire for caring and understanding far more about his country and the dangers it faces than the older Yosef or anyone else in Shas does.

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