For the first time in Israel's history, two sons of Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbis, members of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) have come out against a Sephardic party - Shas. One of those sons is Rabbi Jacob Yosef, Rabbi of the Givat Mordechai neighborhood in Jerusalem, the son of none other than the patron and mentor of Shas and former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Ovadye Yosef. The other one is Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chierf Rabbi of Safed, son of former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. Both have come out strongly against the Shas Party for supporting a government who is dividing Jerusalem.
Referring to last week's news that the Shas Party received NIS479 million (shekel) for their religious institutions, Rabbi Jacob Yosef condemned his father's party saying "how dare you sell out Jerusalem for bowl of lentils (referring to the verse in Genesis describing Esau who sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentils) for $479 million shekel. Jerusalem is worth more than all monies in the world!!
Rabbi Joseph said: "when someone brings a rope to hang your child, will you say 'oh, it's nothing he only brought a rope, or if the killer is only sharpening the knife, will you say it's nothing,he's only sharpening the knife, you will stop him right in the beginning because by the time the knife is on his throat it will be too late. What is Shas waiting for? It must leave the government right now!"
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu also blasted Shas saying "whoever lends a hand to sell out Jerusalem cannot later recite Psalm 101: 'one who tells lies shall not be established before my eyes.' Now is the time for Shas to bolt the government and it will forever be remembered as the party that sanctified G-d Almighty's Name not as the party who sanctified their seats in the coalition."
In wake of the very difficult situation in southern Israel the RCP sent a special message to PM Ehud Olmert asking him: "Where are the missiles being fired at Sderot and Ashkelon coming from? It is no secret that the terrorists are now concentrated in Gush Katif precisely where Jews had built a beautiful community and the government of Israel of its own volition destroyed it and expelled 10, 000 Jews. The government of Israel with its bare hands brought the terrorists closer to Israel.
Chairman of the RCP Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky reminded the PM that a few months before the disastrous disengagement from Gaza the most prominent rabbis in Israel warned that such a move will not bring peace or stability to the region but will only bring the terrorists closer to the Israeli border and increase terrorist activities and instability.
Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, Executive Director of the RCP, "wrote despite everything that happened the government is obsessed with this dangerous, disastrous and ineffective policy of giving up control of territory to terrorists. Now they want to do the same thing in Jerusalem with the support of the Shas Party."
Rabbi Moshe Havlin, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat, reiterated the RCP's warning that if Shas does not leave the government immediately it will be forbidden for a religious Jew to vote for Shas in the next elections.