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Ovadia Yosef

  • Want to end the occupation? Start talking to settlers and Mizrahim

    The very people the Left categorically rejects — Mizrahim and settlers — are exactly whom they need to make peace. By Avi Dabush Three weeks ago, I attended the Peace Now rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, standing among the “peace camp” and meeting many people whom I love and value. They are committed, devoted, and get out of the house to actually protest and work toward peace. [tmwinpost] As I was listening to the speeches, I thought of a poem by Roy Hasan that ends in the line “They’ll never make peace, because if there’ll be peace, all the…

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  • '50 years of occupation is 50 years too many'

    As the Right celebrates 50 years of military rule over the Palestinians, the Left must not be afraid to create alliances between struggles and remind Israelis that ending the occupation is everyone's task. By Eli Bitan The following is the full text of Local Call blogger and editor Eli Bitan's speech in front of 10,000 left-wing protesters at Saturday's anti-occupation rally: Today we count 47 days days until the Omer. Today, in the early hours of the morning, we finished counting 41 days since thousands of political prisoners went on hunger strike to protest their conditions. A strike that ended this morning. [tmwinpost] Forty-one days…

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  • Yossi Sarid: Conservative innovator of the Israeli Left

    One of the first Israeli politicians to champion the two-state solution, Yossi Sarid was also one of the last vestiges of the Israeli Left's old guard. He will be remembered warmly for never turning away a person in need, but also for his contentious attitudes toward religious and Mizrahi Jews.  For better or worse, there has never been a more perfect embodiment of the old Israeli left than columnist and politician Yossi Sarid, who passed away from a heart attack age 75 late last week. He was an uncompromising champion of human and civil rights, of free speech, of separation…

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  • Can a feminist Mizrahi woman find her political home in Shas?

    Although it is run by ultra-Orthodox men and its path for social mobility is anchored in religion, Shas remains the only truly socially minded political party and is certainly the only Mizrahi party. One voter's search for answers. By Efrat Shani-Shitrit A few weeks ago, flyers targeting the women of north Tel Aviv were posted around the suburban streets of one of its better-known neighborhoods, Ramat Aviv: "If you live in Ramat Aviv, don't vote for us. If you work for someone who lives in Ramat Aviv: Only Shas." Aryeh Deri, who until the most recent Knesset had not led the…

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  • Fifty shades of black: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s funeral

    For a secular Jewish woman in Jerusalem, the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef presented an opportunity to cross one of the city’s strongest yet invisible boundaries – entering the bowels of the ultra-Orthodox world. By Michelle Bubis When you belong to the dwindling minority of secular Jewish progressives in Jerusalem, it’s hard to sustain more than the standard rant against religious oppression. But while flatly opposing the politics of faith that run this place may be the way to go pragmatically, it runs the risk of throwing out the human interest with the bathwater. On a day when a sheer…

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  • Sephardic spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef passes away at 93

    Former Sephardic chief rabbi and spiritual leader of Shas was known for efforts to reconcile Jewish law with modernity, advance the status of Mizrahi Jews in the Israeli religious establishment and in Israeli politics and society. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Sephardic-Haredi Shas party passed away Monday at the age of 93. Yosef recently suffered from a series of health problems, specifically with his heart and lungs. He was hospitalized several times in the last month. Yosef was a complex and not always well understood figure. He was know for his groundbreaking rulings which tried to incorporate…

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  • Why no Israeli government will ever impose mandatory IDF service on the ultra-Orthodox

    Compulsory military service for yeshiva students is a popular issue for secular politicians. But Shas and other Orthodox parties will continue to get their way on this issue, partly because of Israel's fragmented electoral system, but also largely because Zionism depends on the haredim for its raison d'être. By Steven A. Cook Washington -- Last week the Israeli media reported that Shas spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, suffered a minor stroke. Although his doctors were mum on what might have caused the episode, sources close to Yosef indicated that a contributing factor was the rabbi’s fear of a renewed push among…

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