Ovadia Yosef

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Ovadia Yosef (September 24, 1920 – October 7, 2013) was an orthodox rabbi and the spiritual leader of Israel's Shas party. He was at one point the most politically powerful rabbi in the country,[1] despite holding a range of extremely bigoted views. He was anti-Gentile, Islamophobic, racist, and misogynist.

Yosef believed that non-Jews (or "Goyim" as he calls them) "were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel." Statements such as these have been condemned by many commentators, including the chief of the Anti-Defamation League.[2] Yosef held Arabs in particular disdain, and has called for their annihilation.[3]

In 2007, Yosef said that Jewish women should "find other jobs and make hamin but not deal with matters of Torah. A woman's knowledge is only in sewing".[4]

In 2000, Yosef made the bizarre claim that the victims of the Holocaust "were reincarnations of the souls of sinners, people who transgressed and did all sorts of things that should not be done. They had been reincarnated in order to atone."[5] After this remark was criticised, Yosef clarified that he considered the victims to be entirely innocent and was merely providing a theological explanation for the atrocity.[1] Following Hurricane Katrina, he argued that the disaster was God's punishment on George W. Bush and local black people who didn't spend enough time studying the Torah.[6]

He was harshly critical of the Israeli justice system on the grounds that their decisions are not based on Jewish religious law.[7] How tragic.

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