JERUSALEM (JTA) — On the eve of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the spiritual leader of the Shas Party wished for the demise of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
"Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this world," Rabbi Ovadia Yosef reportedly said during his weekly Saturday night sermon at a Jerusalem synagogue. "God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians."
Yosef also called the Palestinians "evil, bitter enemies of Israel."
The Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, responded to Yosef’s remarks in a statement issued Sunday.
"The spiritual leader of Shas is literally calling for a genocide against Palestinians, and there seems to be no response from the Israeli government," the statement said.
"He is particularly calling for the assassination of President Abbas, who within a few days will be sitting face to face with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Is this how the Israeli government prepares its public for a peace agreement?"