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Tuesday, January 07, 2020 

Chief rabbi makes divisive slur comments doubtlessly intended to cause needless rifts

The chief Sephardic rabbi, who's notably Haredi, Yitzhak Yosef, caused an uproar by attacking Russian immigrants as nothing but religion-haters, though he seems to be doing it more for the sake of the Haredi parties than anybody else of the Judaist faith:
Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, came under fire Tuesday over comments he made last week regarding non-Jewish immigrants to Israel.

Early Tuesday morning, Yediot Aharonot published a segment of a video recording it obtained which showed Rabbi Yosef speaking at a rabbinical conference last week in Jerusalem.

In the video, Rabbi Yosef laments the mass immigration of non-Jews to Israel, accusing them of backing anti-religious political agendas.

“Hundreds or tens of thousands of non-Jews came to Israel because of the law defining who is a Jew,” said Rabbi Yosef, referring to Israel’s amended Law of Return, which permits not only Jews, but non-Jewish spouses, children, and grandchildren of Jews, along with their spouses, to immigrate to Israel.

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, more than 430,000 people living in Israel are neither Jewish nor Arab, with the vast majority being non-Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who immigrated to Israel after 1989 under the Law of Return.

“There are many, many non-Jews here, and some of them are Communists, enemies of the faith, haters of religion,” Rabbi Yosef continued.

“They aren’t Jewish at all, they are non-Jews. And they vote for parties which incite against haredim and against the faith.”

“They were brought here to Israel so as to serve as a counter-balance against the haredim. So that in elections there won’t be too many haredim. That’s why they total non-Jews were allowed to immigrate to Israel – absolute non-Jews. Unfortunately, we are seeing the result of the incitement they make.”

Rabbi Yosef noted that many of the non-Jewish immigrants identify as Christians and “go to church every Sunday.”

Later Tuesday morning, Rabbi Yosef came under fire for his remarks, with calls for his removal.
You know what? This is so divisive and uncalled for, I'm decidedly going to have to add my vote for his removal from a post that shouldn't have be there too. Worst: he gave a leftist rag like Yediot Achronot ammunition to use against anybody who wants to declare this a right-wing problem, even though Haredis like Yosef are likely socialists themselves and hardly right-wing in any true sense. So what's his beef with communism, seriously?

And notice how he actually seems more concerned about his oh-so important Haredi segment, not so much about simpler followers of Judaism. It's clear he merely cares about the Haredi community, but not so much about others. This is hardly the first time he's ever been a major embarrassment either.

The Jerusalem Post wrote an op-ed stating:
Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef should apologize for the offensive comments he made against non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union whom he alleged were part of a state conspiracy to weaken the electoral strength of the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community. [...]

The chief rabbi then made the conspiratorial claim, which has no factual basis, that these immigrants “were brought to Israel so that they would be a counterweight to the haredi community” during elections.
He also provided Avigdor Lieberman with more ammunition that could aid him in the coming election when he didn't have to, and Yosef probably knows he's only helped the wrong crowd. No doubt, he said it all to undermine the right, with Yediot serving as the drainpipe to do the dirty work.
Rabbi Seth Farber, the head of the ITIM advocacy organization and co-founder of the Giyur K’Halacha network of independent Orthodox conversion courts, said Yosef had “cast aspersions on the Jewish people and distanced people from Judaism,” and called his comments “a mortal blow to our social cohesion as a people.”
I gotta agree. If there has to be a chief rabbi with a salary paid by the state, it certainly shouldn't be a Haredi one.
His divisive and derogatory message has backfired. The aliyah from the former Soviet Union has been a huge boost to the Jewish state in every way, and their contributions in all spheres, from medicine to hi-tech, should be welcomed, not spurned.
No matter what their racial/ethnic background, if they're contributing to the state in a positive way by joining the workforce - something people like Yosef aren't exactly doing - then one shouldn't speak so negatively about them. Interesting Yosef considers these immigrants more worrisome than Islamofascists. If he has no issue with Islam, that says a lot more about Yosef than previously thought. The prime minister's wisely condemned Yosef:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly condemned the remarks on Tuesday, calling them “outrageous.”

Netanyahu tweeted, “The immigration of people from the former Soviet Union is a blessing to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Under my leadership the government will continue to work for the immigration and absorption of our former Soviet brothers and sisters into Israel.”
The rabbi who manages Tsohar, David Stav, wants to sue Yosef for libel:
The chairman of the Tzohar national-religious rabbinical organization, Rabbi David Stav, excoriated Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef Tuesday, and threatened to sue the Chief Rabbi for libel over recent claims against Rabbi Stav.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva, Rabbi Stav accused Rabbi Yosef of undermining the state conversion system, citing recently revealed comments made by Rabbi Yosef last week at a rabbinical conference in Jerusalem.

“I think we are facing something today something which we have never been exposed to. The head of the system… questions the validity of the conversion that he signed,” said Rabbi Stav.

“As a matter of fact, he points out that one of the rabbinic judges’ ‘big sin’ is the fact that he was a lawyer in the office of Supreme Court judge Elyakim Rubenstein. He is a big scholar, he is a big talmid hacham [rabbinic authority], he is yireh shamayim [God-fearing], but all of his conversions – we’re talking about thousands of conversions – need to be rechecked.”

Rabbi Stav added that he planned to sue Rabbi Yosef, after the Chief Rabbi claimed that Rabbi Stav and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, chief rabbi of the town of Efrat, had performed hundreds of ‘quickie’ conversions in Brazil.

Rabbi Yosef “accused me for converting 400 converts in Brazil – something that has never occurred. I’ve never been there, I’ve never converted anybody there,” Rabbi Stav continued.
I hope Stav does sue Yosef in order to send a message and make an example of such a shoddy excuse for a Judaist. Above all, Yosef should resign. I vaguely remember the way he acted towards the parents of Shira Banki was abominable. Yosef's but one example of insular Haredis who have no proper grasp on the need for respectable dialogue and dissent on anything, and he shouldn't continue in a job he doesn't deserve. This is exactly why the time's come to shut down the religious affairs ministry.

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