Hurricane Katrina was, according to Shas’ spiritual leader, punishment for American support of the disengagement from Gaza. Now, R. Ovadia Yosef is claiming, Israeli soldiers died in Lebanon because they weren’t frum enough.
The Jerusalem Post reports,
“Should it come as a surprise if, God forbid, soldiers are killed in war?” said Yosef, spiritual mentor of the haredi-Sephardi Shas party, referring to the 119 IDF soldiers killed during the Second Lebanon War.
“When they do not adhere to the laws of Shabbat, they do not keep the Torah, they do not pray every day, they do not put on phylacteries every day? God have mercy on them [soldiers] and make them become newly religious – then they will all live a good life in peace,” Yosef said.
Pardon me while I vomit in my mouth a little. Not surprisingly, the parents of soldiers who were killed in the war have a little bit to say about this. For example,
Moshe Muskal, another bereaved parent whose religious son Refanel was killed in Maroun a-Ras, said that since Yosef’s political party was part of the government coalition during the Second Lebanon War, the rabbi also bears responsibility for the deaths of the soldiers.
Muskal, who was interviewed on Army Radio, quoted from testimony given by Shas Chairman Eli Yishai before the Winograd Committee, which investigated the operational failures of the war.
According to the testimony, Yishai, a member of the government’s Defense Cabinet during the war, consulted with Yosef often.
“I want to know if Rabbi Ovadia Yosef advised Yishai to check if soldiers entering Maroun a-Ras [the Lebanese village where Muskal’s son was killed] put on tefilin that morning,” said Muskal. “And if they did not put on tefilin, were they prevented from going to war?”