Rabbi Shalom Cohen boomerangs back to bigotry
A verbal assault against the Bayit Yehudi party from senior Shas religious leader Rabbi Shalom Cohen marred the enrobing ceremony on Monday of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef at the Yohanan Ben Zakkai Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City.I'm skeptical they tried, but even if it's true, their contemptible policies are just what encourage people like Cohen to make the vile statements he did. His remark was rude, dehumanizing and vulgar, unbecoming of a religious figure, and worst, his cohorts stand in pure silence, failing to disown him for the embarrassment he causes.
The grievance behind Cohen’s outburst was the Religious Services Ministry’s recent appointment of a woman to jointly chair a local religious council in Acre.
Speaking after Yosef was ceremonially enrobed, Cohen issued his broadside attack against Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan.
“Eli Ben-Dahan, I hope that your name Eli Ben-Dahan is better than deputy minister, [which] is not a title but rather like a pot that is soiled by children and that you then place on the head,” said Cohen, who is the dean of the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in the Old City and a member of the Shas Council of Torah Sages.
“Bayit Yehudi, do what would be respectful for the Rishon Lezion [Sephardi chief rabbi] and ensure that there will not be a woman chairing a religious council,” the rabbi said.
Interviewed later on Israel Radio, Ben- Dahan said that it was a shame that Cohen had chosen to spoil an otherwise beautiful ceremony by raising political concerns. What was even worse, he said, was that no one had intervened to stop him.
[...] The Jerusalem Post understands that efforts were made by Shas insiders to prevent Cohen from making any inflammatory remarks at the event, seemingly to no avail.
Update: a letter writer to the Jerusalem Post wonders what Cohen was doing on Yom Kippur:
When I read the vile, despicable comments that Rabbi Shalom Cohen leveled at Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (“Political recriminations mar robing ceremony of Sephardi chief rabbi,” September 17), two thoughts came to mind.Yup.
What did Cohen do all day on Yom Kippur? He obviously didn’t spend it absorbing one of the key messages of the day – the centrality of achdut (unity) of the Jewish people in the whole process of drawing closer to God. And as this was Cohen’s second such verbal assault on a fellow Jew within a matter of months, it proves the wisdom of the Talmudists who, when they penned Pirkei Avot, counseled us to despise authority.
Religion and politics do not blend. Cohen is proof positive of this.