'A Great Authority with a Big Heart'

Deputy Defense Minister eulogizes the spiritual leader of the Shas party, who passed away at the age of 93.

Arutz Sheva ,

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Flash 90

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) eulogized on Monday evening Rabbi Ovadia Yosef zts”l, who passed away earlier in the day at the age of 93.

"Rabbi Ovadia was a great halakhic authority with a big heart, great compassion and courage who contributed from his intelligence to the nation," Danon said.

“Extraordinary wisdom, tremendous spiritual leadership and humility are what made ​​Rabbi Ovadia the greatest one of the generation,” he added.

The chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu), also eulogized Rabbi Yosef, speaking of his outstanding contribution to Israeli society and to the political system.

"I want to mention to two things in which he had, in my opinion, a great contribution,” said Lieberman.

"The first is the establishment of the Shas party, which turned into a home for many observant Jews and raised the prestige of Sephardic Jews from Arab countries, many of whom felt alienated from the social and political system in Israel before the establishment of Shas,” he said.

The second great contribution made by Rabbi Yosef, said Lieberman, is his ruling from several years ago that IDF conversions are valid. The conversions had been cast into doubt due to concerns that soldiers were allowed to convert even if they did not plan to abide by Jewish law.

“His ruling was condemned by many other halakhic rulers but it expressed his understanding of the plight and difficulties of soldiers seeking to convert,” Lieberman said, adding, "I send my condolences to his family and to the many people who loved him.”

Some 800,000 people - 10% of Israel's population - attended the funeral of Rabbi Yosef on Monday night in Jerusalem.

The crowd, observers said, consisted of a cross-section of Israelis, from hareidi to Religious Zionist to secular.