The spiritual leader of the Sephardi Orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, called on Jews to pray on Rosh Hashana for the destruction of Iran and Hezbollah.
The call on Saturday night came more than a week after Yosef was briefed on the threat from Iran by the head of Israel’s National Security Council, Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror.
The meeting reportedly was part of efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to obtain support from government ministers for an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Shas Chairman Eli Yishai, who is a member of the nine-minister security Cabinet, opposes such a strike.
In Yosef’s weekly Saturday night sermon, he reportedly said: “When we say the blessing over the dates at our Rosh Hashana meal, and we ask to ‘bring an end to our enemies,’ we should be thinking about Iranian rulers, those evil ones who threaten Israel. May the Lord destroy and kill them.”
“We have Hezbollah and we have Iran,” Yosef reportedly said. “May the Lord, blessed be he, eliminate them from the face of the earth.” During the Rosh Hashana meal, some Jews have a tradition of reciting special blessings over foods which use double meanings to bless the new year. The blessing on the date, or tamar, calls on God to finish off our enemies.