Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Dies: Spiritual Leader of Sephardic Jews Was 93

Image: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Dies: Spiritual Leader of Sephardic Jews Was 93

Monday, 07 Oct 2013 02:59 PM

By Michael Mullins

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the longtime spiritual leader of Sephardic Jews, died Monday in Jerusalem. He was 93.

Suffering from kidney failure and other health problems, Yosef was hospitalized and was reportedly in critical condition when he was admitted to the hospital.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is Here. Are You Prepared?

The inspirational rabbi suffered from a variety of ailments for several years, The Associated Press reported.

The legendary spiritual and political figure played a vital role in governing coalitions. Israel's newspaper the daily Haaretz called him a "kingmaker of Israeli politics and Jewish law."

As a co-founder of Israel's ultra-orthodox religious political party known as Shas, Yosef gave Jews from North Africa and Arab countries a stronger voice in Israeli government, which traditionally favored European Jews, NPR reported.

"The light of the sun has been extinguished," Aryeh Deri, a Shas leader, wailed. "How will we remain alone? Who will lead us?"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed "deep sorrow" over Yosef's death in a statement on Monday saying that "the Jewish people have lost one of the wisest men of this generation," while referring to him as "a giant in Torah and Jewish law and a teacher for tens of thousands."

Born in Baghdad in 1920, Yosef moved with his family to Jerusalem when he was a child. The rabbi rose to power in 1972 when he became Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi until 1983. Yosef's son is the current chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel.

As beloved as Yosef was, he still had critics, with some Israelis claiming he exacerbated ethnic tensions between Sephardic and European Jews in Israeli.

Others say he has offended various segments of Israeli society through his fierce statements, including gays, Palestinians, secular Jews and even Holocaust survivors, the AP noted.

Among his controversial comments in recent years, Yosef allegedly said an Israeli soldier's death in 2007 was because he was not religious enough and that the victims of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 suffered and died "because they have no God," the AP reported.

In 2010, Yosef called Palestinians "evil, bitter enemies of Israel," and said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should "perish from the world." The Rabbi later apologized for the comment.

The rabbi is survived by 11 children, and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

According to Israel police, more than half a million mourners participated in the rabbi's funeral procession on Monday in Jerusalem.

Editor's Note: Do You Support Obamacare? Vote in Urgent National Poll

Related stories:

Rabbi David Hartman Dies at 81

Israel Rabbi Is Threatened Over Women's Prayer Group

Israeli Settler Rabbi Who Promoted Peace Dies

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
 
 
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved