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Israel News

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s son forced to quit post for political comments

CM 04/05/2021

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Rabbi David Yosef, a member of the Shas Council of Torah Sages and son of the late, revered Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, was forced to resign as a state-paid neighborhood rabbi due to a petition brought against him in the High Court of Justice over unbecoming political comments he made in the past. 
Yosef served until October 2020 as the neighborhood rabbi for Har Nof in Jerusalem, a public servant position in which the office holder is required to act in accordance with the terms and regulations of the Civil Service Administration. 
The rabbi has however been an outspoken supporter of Shas, has been a member of its Council of Torah Sages since 2013, and has also spoken harshly of non-Orthodox Jewish denominations and organizations. 
The regulations of the Civil Service Administration stipulate that public servants may not express political opinions in public, and also prohibit offensive or discriminatory speech against groups. 
In 2019 ahead of the elections that year, Yosef said that “Everyone must fulfil their holy obligation to vote for Shas and only Shas! A Sephardi Jew who doesn’t vote for Shas is basically, God forbid, harming the honor of [my] father [Rabbi Ovadia Yosef].”
Yosef has also spoken vitriolically about the Reform movement and the Women of the Wall prayer rights organization. 

Between 2016 and 2019, he variously said that “One must stand up in every place and talk about the lie of the Reform,” referred to Reform rabbis as “snakes” and said “the evil son in the [Passover] Haggadah is Reform.”
The rabbi also spoke disparagingly about the Women of the Wall, stating “these idiots put on tefillin,” that their activity was “promiscuous, coarse, vulgar, immodest and shameless,” and that “they have no connection to Judaism.”
The Reform Movement in Israel together with Women of the Wall initially requested that the Civil Service Administration and the Religious Services Ministry, under whose authority neighborhood rabbis serve, begin disciplinary proceedings against Yosef, but their requests were unanswered. 
They then petitioned the High Court, requesting that it require these authorities to hold disciplinary proceedings. 
But in October 2020, Yosef resigned as Har Nof’s neighborhood rabbi, apparently to avoid such disciplinary proceedings and to avoid problems in the future should he run for more senior public offices, such as a municipal chief rabbi or national chief rabbi. 
Yosef’s older brother Yitzhak Yosef is currently the national chief rabbi and another brother, Avraham Yosef, was municipal chief rabbi of Holon but was forced to resign due to his conviction on corruption charges. 
In a ruling this week, the High Court noted that David Yosef had now resigned so could no longer be disciplined. 
But is stated that his politically charged comments should be taken into consideration by “the relevant authorities” in any future applications he might make for a position as a public servant. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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