Lapid: Rabbi Yosef should apologize

Blue and White leader: I don't understand why Chief Rabbi has to stand in front of the camera and insult hundreds of thousands of people.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Kobi Richter/TPS

MK Yair Lapid, one of the leaders of the Blue and White party, commented on Tuesday on the remarks made by the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, on immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

"I don't understand why the Chief Rabbi of Israel has to stand in front of the camera and insult hundreds of thousands of people. He just needs to apologize," Lapid said in an interview with Reshet Bet radio.

Lapid also responded the claims that the immigrants were brought to Israel to reduce the power of the haredim, saying, "They were not brought here - they came here on their own initiative to be part of the State of Israel."

Earlier on Tuesday, the Yediot Aharonot published a segment of a video recording it obtained which showed Rabbi Yosef speaking at a conference in Jerusalem last week.

In the video, Rabbi Yosef laments the mass immigration of non-Jews to Israel, accusing them of backing anti-religious political agendas and inciting hatred against religious Jews.

“Hundreds or tens of thousands of non-Jews came to Israel because of the law defining who is a Jew,” said Rabbi Yosef, referring to Israel’s amended Law of Return, which permits not only Jews, but non-Jewish spouses, children, and grandchildren of Jews, along with their spouses, to immigrate to Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized Rabbi Yosef’s remarks, saying, “It’s an unacceptable comment that was out of place. The immigrants from the former Soviet Union are a great blessing to the State of Israel and to the Jewish people.”

In Tuesday’s interview, Lapid also addressed the issue of the immunity request made by the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the opposition of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to hold a debate on the subject.

“I have no interest in ousting people. I previously voted for Yuli Edelstein out of a desire for unity. The fact that he acts as Netanyahu's chief of staff in the Knesset is unfortunate," Lapid said.