Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas party, made a public wish on his Rosh HaShana sermon that “our enemies and haters may come to an end, Abu Mazen and all these villains – may the Holy One, Blessed Be He, afflict them with the plague... these evil enemies of Israel.”
MK Nissim Ze'ev, a veteran parliamentarian for the Sephardic-hareidi party, said Sunday in response to political attacks on Rabbi Ovadiah that the Rabbi was misunderstood. “He means that the Holy One, Blessed Be He should end the hatred that the villains harbor against us. It is easy to interpret what he said as meaning that we do not want peace, but this is untrue. The Rabbi supports negotiations for peace. The Jewish people has many enemies and the Rabbi does not mean to say that all of them should be annihilated, just that their hatred for us should end.”
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said that Rabbi Yosef had simply “said what the majority in the Nation of Israel thinks.” Abbas, explained Ben Ari, is a more dangerous enemy than Hamas. “Both of them want the destruction of Israel, but Abu Mazen's fraud succeeds in deceiving us again.”
In a statement to the press Sunday, al-Ghoul said that the statement “reflects the political consciousness in Israeli society and feeds the extremely belligerent approach that goads the settlers and soldiers to carry out the most heinous crimes against the helpless Palestinian people.”
Al-Ghoul added that Rabbi Ovadiah's “racist” pronouncements, delivered on the eve of resumption of direct talks between Israel and the PA in Washington, constitute a message to the world that Israel refuses to accept the “two state solution.” He called on “forces of peace in Israel and the world” to denounce Rabbi Ovadiah's “hate speech” against Israel and to force Israel to carry out its “diplomatic commitments.”
MK Ahmed Tibi (Raam Taal) said that Rabbi Ovadiah himself is “the leading curses and villain who spreads words of hatred and values of death and killing that are far from the values of all religions.” Tibi, who was an adviser to PLO chief Yasser Arafat before being elected to the Israeli Knesset, is widely viewed within Israeli nationalist circles as an agent of the PA.
The PA itself is notorious for its regular incitement against Jews and Israelis. The incitement is carried out by religious figures, in educational materials and by official PA media.