Daily Israel Report

Rabbi Ovadia: Fight Draft Movement by Studying Torah

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef urged yeshivas to take a "spiritual summer vacation" and continue learning Torah in response to the draft movement.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/8/2012, 8:11 AM

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

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef urged yeshivas to cancel summer vacation so students can continue to learn Torah in response to the move to draft them.

Torah sage Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas Sephardi hareidi religious party, urged yeshivas Saturday night to cancel summer vacation so students can continue to learn Torah in response to the move to draft them into the army.

In his weekly lecture, Rabbi Yosef, known as Rav Ovadia, also called for a special prayer to be recited for spiritual help against an attempt to put an almost complete end to the tradition of continued Torah learning, which he said, has been a condition for the existence of the State of Israel.

“We are in deep trouble. There are those who want to lessen the honor of Torah and learning Torah,” said Rav Ovadia.

He said that after morning and afternoon prayers on Sunday, a fast day that introduces the “three weeks of mourning” of the desecration and destruction of the Holy Temples, the prayer “Aveenu Malkeinu” should be recited. Rav Ovadia urged that the prayer be recited every day for a period of time during the three weeks, which concludes with the Fast of Tisha B’Av.
“I also ask our brethren in the Diaspora…to participate and pray” to HaShem to reject the aim to draft all yeshiva students.

Between 30,000 and 50,000 people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday night in support of the draft.

The demonstration was highly politicized. Shaul Mofaz, leader of the severely splintered Kadima party, told the crowd that the Tel Aviv bill for a universal draft will be presented on Wednesday.

He was ridiculed by Yuval Diskin, former head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), who accused him of exploiting the campaign for his own gain.

The same charge was leveled against Yair Lapid, head of the new Atid (Future) party.