On Saturday night, Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef urged for dialogue between those who support and oppose the government’s proposed judicial reforms, describing the splits as “disturbing and exceedingly painful.”
“There should be a conversation so that there is not a civil war—we are all the citizens of Israel, we are all brothers,” Yosef declared during his weekly sermon.
Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power and his coalition began pushing the legal overhaul that they say would restore the balance between the legislative and judicial branches and opponents claim is a power grab by Netanyahu and his allies in the government, there have been frequent large-scale protests across the nation.
The Supreme Court shouldn’t get involved in matters of faith, the rabbi added in his remarks.
They won’t intervene, at least with holy things. Why should the religious concerns of the Rabbinical Courts be interfered with by you? He responded, “The Rabbinical Courts are not above you.
Yosef recently attacked Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s minister of national security, for going to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, reinforcing the position of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel that Jews are not permitted to enter the site due to religious prohibitions.
Since Israel liberated the most important Jewish site in 1967, this approach has been in effect.
In a letter to Ben-Gvir, Yosef stated, “As a minister representing the government of Israel, you should be operating by the Chief Rabbinate directives, which have long forbade visiting the Temple Mount.
Last year, the rabbi also criticized the previous administration, particularly the Religious Services Minister at the time, Matan Kahana, for initiating the conversion and kashrut reforms Yosef said violated Jewish law.