Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

Ovadia Yosef Frees Man Who Tried to Kill Him

What would be your attitude toward someone who had plotted to kill you? I can’t help thinking that I’d be more than a little broiges.

You would imagine that the stakes are upped a little when the target of the murder plot is the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas party. After all, his would-be murderer was planning his death as an act of terrorism, and Yosef famously said in 2001 that it is “forbidden to be merciful” to Palestinian terrorists. People initially presumed that the “them” referred to Palestinians in general, but he then clarified that he meant Arab terrorists.

But Yosef has just given his blessing to the freeing of Salah Hamouri, who plotted to kill him in 2005, in the second release of prisoners for the Shalit deal later this month. Hamouri is a Jerusalemite with French citizenship, and Yosef made his position clear to the French Ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot, who visited his home.

Netanyahu said he would only cede to French pressure to release Hamouri if Yosef agrees.

In what must have been a difficult and emotionally-taxing decision to reach, Yosef put aside his personal feelings for national priorities. Shas Chairman Eli Yishai explained his thought process, saying: “Rabbi Yosef appreciates the French president’s actions for the benefit of the State of Israel and the Jewish community in France. Therefore, as part of his general outlook and concern for the Jewish nation, he has decided to grant the request.”

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.