Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef deeply cared about the security of Israel. Ya'alon said that he got to know Rabbi Yosef when he was head of the IDF's Military Intelligence department, and was very impressed by the Rabbi's breadth and depth of knowledge on security matters.
“I have known Rabbi Yosef for years,” he said. “I met with him at his request, in order to present to him my views on security matters and political issues. I also met him several times, when I was IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister.
“In all our meetings, the Rabbi expressed great concern for the security of the country. He was very aware of what was going on inside and outside of Israel. The greatness of his personality came out in that he not only was a great adjudicator of Jewish law, but also in that he always listened to different opinions before he took a stand. And he did this with an open mind and with patience,” he said.
In 1993, Shas abstained from the government vote on approving the Oslo Accords. The abstention came in the wake of a ruling by Rabbi Yosef that if the country's political and military leaders deemed it preferable to give up land in order to save Jewish lives, that was what the country should do.
“In all our meetings, Rabbi Yosef expressed concern not only for Israel's external security, but also for the security of Israeli society,” said Ya'alon.
“He was very pragmatic, both politically and in matters of Jewish law. His unique customs were based on his wide array of knowledge, his greatness in Torah, and his involvement in many areas of Israeli society. He will be sorely missed.”