Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Israeli PM's security adviser meets with senior rabbi over Iran strike

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the Shas Party's 92-year-old spiritual leader, has met with national security adviser Yaakov Amidror.

JERUSALEM // The Israeli prime minister's national security adviser met with an influential rabbi to persuade him to support a military strike on Iran's nuclear sites, a party official said yesterday.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the Shas Party's 92-year-old spiritual leader, met with national security adviser Yaakov Amidror last week, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

He said he did not know the rabbi's response because the talks were private.

The meeting comes at a time of public debate about the possibility of an Israeli attack against Iran to stop its nuclear programme. Israel and the West suspect Iran is aiming to build nuclear weapons. Iran insists the program is for peaceful purposes.

Israeli leaders have been indicating impatience over Western diplomatic and economic moves to deter Iran, though some analysts believe the implied Israeli saber-rattling is a bluff to increase pressure on Tehran. Iranian leaders have rejected Israel's hints, threatening punishing retaliation.

Israeli leaders have consulted with Yosef about weighty military decisions and other issues in the past, seeking his support and blessings.

Mr Yosef, a former Israeli chief rabbi for Jews of Middle East origins, is revered by millions around the world as a scholar and spiritual leader. His Shas Party is part of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government and would have a say in a decision over attacking Iran.

Israel views Iran as an existential threat because of its nuclear and missile programs, support for violent anti-Israeli groups in Lebanon and Gaza as well as repeated references by Iranian leaders to Israel's destruction.

Israel submitted a letter to the UN on Monday over remarks by Iran's leaders in the past few days, calling for Israel's destruction.

The letter pointed to statements by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ayallotah Khamenei has called Israel a "cancerous tumor," and in his latest pronouncement on Wednesday, he said Israel will "disappear from the scene of geography".

Mr Ahmadinejad told worshippers on Friday that Israel's existence is an "insult to all humanity".

An Israeli diplomat at the Unitd Nations, Israel Nitzan, said the recent "delusional statements of Iran's leaders are not those of crazy people, but rational fanatics with irrational hatreds".

"One can only imagine what such an extremist regime would do if it got its hands on the world's most dangerous weapons," Mr Nitzan said.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National