My Last Word on the Subject - (I Hope)
The issue has simmered down and both sides seem satisfied with the outcome. There is really no more to say and the truth is I’m overdosed on this already. So when this interview of R’ Yaakov Yosef - son of Rav Ovadia Yosef - was published yesterday at VIN, I decided to ignore it.
But I shouldn’t have. It is the truth and vindicates what I’ve been saying all along. Besides - the issue of ethnic prejudice against Sephardim in Charedi – and in particular Chasidic Israel has not gone away.
Please read the entire post at VIN. Here are some key excerpts:
Why did you need to do this?
“We may not keep silent. An evil was done here. They humiliated families, and innocent and kosher Jewish girls. They made them an object of derision. Terrible things. Some rabbonim, not just me, me and another 33 rabbis, took a position against this. We planned what to do and how to respond.
The Slonimer chassidim claim that there was no discrimination on the basis of ethnicity.
It’s not true. It’s a lie. It is ethnical. We are completely convinced. The people who live there told us the true story that all this happened on the basis of ethnicity.
So why don’t those people speak up?
“They are very humble people. They are indigent, but very modest and humble. They have no ties to the media, they sit and toil in Torah study. Avreichim with wonderful families. How can a person stand and shout to the opposite side of the fence, ‘There are mechalelei Shabbos here.’ Who gave people the right to come and speak derogatorily about the Jewish people? How can such a thing be?
How did they arrive at the decision to turn to the Supreme Court? Rav Yaakov Yosef says that for 3 years, he has tried to establish a national Beis Din that would navigate the affair quietly. Such a beis din would rule and be a supreme authority above the elementary and high school principals, but Chinuch Atzmai firmly opposed it.
Is it true that several Avos Beis Din permitted going to the court?
“That’s correct. But I’ll leave their names confidential so what happened to me won’t happen to them. There are Ashkenazic rabbis among them, who feel awful about the terrible situation.
“Unfortunately, we are being intimidated. … We are dealing with people who act as if they were from the underground world.
But why is there a gap between all gedolei yisroel who signed against, and you? And you insist you’re right.
“It’s a maaseh Satan. That’s the only way to explain it. Why didn’t all the great rabbis turn to us? Why didn’t they invite Yoav (Lalum – the attorney who filed suit) and speak with him?
“They do things, give their signatures, without hearing us. How can it be? Either the signatures are false and their secretaries forged them, or the yetzer hora himself was involved in it.
“All the time we offered compromises and this was even publicized in the media. Why didn’t the gedolim respond then? When they asked Rav Grossman last week, he tried to reach a compromise, and we were happy to accept it. He told us that he didn’t know there was a wall.
“We would be happy to accept any compromise whatsoever, but not a compromise that would come at the expense of the girls who had been maligned. It’s a crime. If we would have remained silent, the separation would have continued throughout the country. We did it to prevent that from happening.
What does the rav think about Judge Edmond Levy’s statement that “this verdict doesn’t need a rabbi’s confirmation”?
“I think he got carried away. The atmosphere in the court was angry and furious, and that’s why he said these words. This problem of discrimination is a form of mental illness. Since when do you send a mentally ill person to prison? Why send them to prison? We’re speaking about their rabbis too, who should have fulfilled what the Torah says, ‘make a hearing between your brothers.’
How did the rav respond to his father’s words on last week motzei Shabbos, that one may not go to courts?
“I felt very uncomfortable that Father (R' Ovadia Yosef) didn’t explain all. Many times, we give a permit to turn to the courts. Sixteen years ago, we had a case: the daughter of a deserving family registered for a school here. The principal, Neuman, didn’t want to accept her. “We tried everything, but weren’t successful. In the end we went, as a last resort, to Father. Father said, “Go to the Supreme Court.
People say that Rav Yaakov Yosef is truly a holy man but maybe Yoav Lalum is misleading him.
“I know Yoav Lalum for many years. He is a ben Torah, and a G-d-fearing person. This whole matter has only given him tribulations. He is today the most threatened person around. He is at the head of the police list of people who need protection. “Should I keep silent? Should I abandon my friend Yoav Lalum? You can’t maneuver me right or left. You won’t find my signature where it shouldn’t be.”
In your opinion, what does your father Rav Ovadya Yosef think about this affair?
“My father feels the pain of discrimination. He speaks generally against going to the Supreme Court, and so do we. But when there is no choice, of course Father thinks one should too.