As criticism mounted this week against a top Israeli rabbi for comments which seemed to blame Holocaust victims for their own murders, the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party spiritual leader found support in an unexpected quarter.
American Rabbi Ronald Price, the head of a moderate Jewish group, told The Jewish Week that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s volatile words have been badly misunderstood, and unnecessarily prompted a firestorm of negative reaction from Israeli officials, American Jewish organizations and Holocaust memorial representatives.
Striking out at a controversial new religious divorce court that says it has freed more than 150 women from recalcitrant husbands, a group of 31 mainstream Orthodox rabbis has denounced the bet din as illegitimate.
With John Paul II’s departure, Israel’s attention turned this week to Bibi, Yossi and Yosef. Following the historic Holy Land pilgrimage of the Pope, which dominated the country’s headlines for a week, two political scandals took center stage — pending corruption charges against former Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, and a possible investigation of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for an “incitement” attack on Education Minister Yossi Sarid.