The Israeli army should learn from Syria how to “slaughter and crush the enemy” said Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the son of Israel’s former Chief Rabbi and spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
This report, from the Israeli financial news website Globes, was translated by Dena Shunra:
Rabbi Yaakov Yosef: “The IDF must learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy”
“The army has got to learn from the Syrians how to slaughter and crush the enemy” - that is how Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, “blessed” the IDF [sic] soldiers who may soon find themselves within the Gaza Strip, within the framework of a ground operation which may happen in practice.
According to the report on the Jewish Voice [hakol hayehudi] website, Rabbi Yosef gave a sermon today at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and among other statements blessed the IDF soldiers by saying: “we warmly bless the soldiers and pray that they leave in peace and return in peace.” Immediately thereafter he said that the IDF should learn from the Syrians “how to slaughter and how to crush the enemy.”
According to the report, Rabbi Yosef said similar things in a sermon he gave in Jerusalem last weekend. Yosef was interrogated by the police in the past for alleged incitement, due to his statement of consent and approval for the Torat Hamelech book, which deals in the halacahic laws of war under the Torah.
The Syrian army has been universally condemned for indiscriminate shelling and bombing of Syrian towns and cities resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and injuries and widespread destruction amid the ongoing civil war in that country.
Incitement by Israeli religious leaders is not new. Last June, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu was appointed to an advisory committee for Magen David Adom, Israel’s ICRC affiliate.
Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safad, whose salary is paid by the Israeli government, has a long, well-documented history of extreme racism and has called for violence against Palestinians.
In 2007, for example, Eliyahu called on Israel to “kill a million” Palestinians to stop rocket fire from Gaza. Eliyahu’s late father, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, had previously ruled “that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians.”
Yaakov’s own father, Ovadia Yosef, has also been the inspiration for his son. In 2001, the elder Yosef, known for calling the Palestinians “snakes,” effectively called for their extermination.
“It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable,” the revered cleric said.
Israeli ministers have also used violent rhetoric as the escalating Israeli assault on Gaza has claimed dozens of civilian lives.
Israel’s “minister of home front defense” Avi Dichter called for Israel to “reformat” Gaza – wipe it clean – like a computer hard drive, except using bombs.
Transport minister Israel Katz called for Israel to bomb Gaza so hard that the population would flee into Egypt, and for Israel to cut off water and electricity supplies.