Justice Ministry considers prosecuting Chief Rabbi for racism

Anti-racism taskforce mulls prosecuting Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef after he allegedly denigrates blacks.

Tzvi Lev,

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel at Shas party convention at Tedd
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel at Shas party convention at Tedd
TPS

The Justice Ministry's anti-racism taskforce is deliberating whether to prosecute Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi for remarks the ministry taskforce says were derogatory to black people.

According to Ynet, Justice Ministry official Avka Zana said that he has contacted various authorities in order to determine whether Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef's remarks constituted racism. "The unit will continue to monitor and take all necessary steps to prevent such racist statements by civil servants and public servants, even in the future," the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

Rabbi Yosef had allegedly compared dark-skinned people to monkeys in a Torah class he gave regarding the positive commandment given to Jews to bless new trees every spring. According to Ynet, the rabbi had used the word 'Kushi to describe black people, which some Israelis consider derogatory, but which was once the accepted term.

With regard to reciting a blessing when one has seen something unusual, the rabbi continued:

"You can’t make the blessing on every ‘kushi’ you see — in America you see one every five minutes, so you make it only on a person with a white father and mother (i.e.an extraordinary phenomenon),” the chief rabbi said.”How do you know? Let’s say you do know that they had a monkey as a son, a son of some sort, so you'd say the blessing for him.”




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