You may recall how recently an array of high ranking Israeli officials in the Netanyahu government, including National Security Council head Ya’akov Amidror and Interior Minister Eli Yishai, briefed ultra-Orthodox rabbi and Shas leader Ovadia Yosef on the proposed war with Iran in the hopes of receiving his blessing. Both the war (which Netanyahu reportedly wants before the U.S. presidential election) and the need to get nod from a religious leader were criticized, including by some of us who noted the extreme views of Yosef. Now, Yosef has called upon Jews to pray for the death of Iranians and the destruction of the nation of Iran. Now we have spiritual leaders is both countries calling on God to annihilate whole countries as examples of divine and moral justice.
Yosef told his followers that good Jews should pray for destruction of the enemies of Israel, particularly Iran and Hezbollah. The lesson in morality came with his weekly sermon and specified that the prayers should arrange for the annihilation of the Iranian during Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year). Apparently just to be clear in the prayers to avoid the annihiation of similarly sounding countries, Yoseh stressed “When we say ‘may our enemies be struck down’ on Rosh Hashana, it shall be directed at Iran, the evil ones who threaten Israel. God shall strike them down and kill them.”
With Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also calling on God to destroy Israel, we have perfect agreement on one point from both sides: God is being who can be called upon to kill millions in the name of faith. These guys both sound and look remarkably alike.
As noted in the earlier blog, Yosef has long espoused extreme and hateful views, including likening Palestinians to snakes and calling for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to “perish from this world” and describing non-Jews as “born only to serve us”. This is the person that the Israeli government wants to bless the upcoming war . Of course, as noted earlier, the scheduling of a new war against Iran before the U.S. election would be a transparent effort to use the American politics to guarantee support for the war on the assumption that neither candidate would want to risk alienating the Jewish vote and campaign donors. At a minimum, Israel would expect that the U.S. would help pay for the war — if not immediately than in a later mix of loans and military assistance. We could then ultimately find ourselves in a third war, particularly if Iran strikes U.S. assets in response to an Israeli attack. Of course we will have the comfort of knowing that Ovadia Yosef says it is all perfectly moral.