Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported Thursday that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of Shas, told President Shimon Peres in a discussion this week that he supports making major adjustments to Israeli policy, including freezing building in many parts of Jerusalem, in order to improve Israel's relationship with the United States.
At their meeting, Peres laid out to Rabbi Yosef the depth of the crisis in relations between Israel and the U.S. The report said that Rabbi Yosef was very concerned, and that he told Peres that Israel must be prepared to “pay any price to restore our relations with them. It is not permissible to challenge the nations of the world or the ruling powers,” he told Peres. He added that the pause in building could be temporary, and that “nothing would happen” if Israel concentrated on construction in other parts of the country for a few years. The report added that Rabbi Yosef expressed approval of a plan also supported by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to freeze building in certain neighborhoods of the city.