Last Friday Israeli officials secretly met with political party Shas’ spiritual leader Rav Ovadia Yosef and briefed him on the Iranian nuclear threat, according to the Israeli news website Kikar Hashabat.
Political sources say that the of Head of Israel’s National Security Council Major-General Yaakov Amidror met with the Sephardic rabbinic figure as part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu’s plan to gain Shas’ political support in the event that the Israeli government will need to vote on an independent strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The current position of Shas, as stated by its chairman Eli Yishai who is also a member of the eight-minister security forum, opposes a military strike against Iran. However, if Rav Ovadia is convinced and announces his support for a strike his declaration would bring about a shift in his party’s views.
On Sunday Rav Ovadia reportedly addressed the Iranian nuclear threat in a sermon after the daily morning prayers, urging worshipers and fellow Jews to repent in response to the possibility of danger ahead. He referred to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinijad as “Haman,” the name of the Persian minister who sought to annihilate the Jewish people during the ancient reign of Xerxes I, an event that is remembered by Jews annually on the Purim holiday.
“Our situation today is in deep, terrible trouble,” he said. “Haman the second in Persia continues to bring evil upon us.”
Rav Ovadia also said in his speech that the Jewish solution was a rise in repentance and prayer as Jews enter the Hebrew month of Elul which precedes Rosh Hashanah. “Their swords will turn towards their own hearts and their arrows will break (Psalms 37:15). G-d will display mercy upon us like a Father towards his children. The wicked will plot evil upon us, but their plans will be broken, and their heads will face the consequences, just as Haman did,” he concluded.
“We have no one to lean on except our Heavenly Father,” said Rav Ovadia. “Whether we attack Iran or don’t attack Iran…we need to pray more.”
Meanwhile, last Wednesday Israeli media reported that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman secretly met with the Belzer Rebbe for over an hour, with Belz MK Israel Eichler who was present for some minutes. The details of that conversation were not revealed to the public.