Mentally Ill Patient Planned to Kill Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

A mentally ill patient who previously attacked another rabbi says he planned to kill Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Tisha B'Av.

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Gabe Kahn.,

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Meyer Baraness, 50, of Safed (Tzfat) said he planned to kill former Sephardic Chief Rabbi and Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef during the last prayer of the Tisha B'Av services at the Western Wall.

Baraness, who is known to the police, has been described as "mentally deranged" by officials who note that he previously sought to murder the late Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Bistritzky of Tzfat, seriously injuring him in the attempt.

Baraness, once a member of a Chabad faction, planned to go to the Western Wall for Tisha B'Av armed with a sharp piece of glass, with the aim of cutting Rabbi Yosef's throat.

Fortunately for Rabbi Yosef, Baraness felt ill that day so he chose not to attend the services at the Western Wall, which may have saved Rabbi Yosef's life.

At this stage it remains unclear whether Baraness' account of his plans are coherent or delusional, but because Baraness - who is currently under psychiatric observation - did make a similar attempt recently, his claims are being carefully considered.

In July another man - also mentally unstable - stabbed and murdered Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, son of the reknowned Baba Sali.