JERUSALEM (JTA) — Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas party, called Jewish Home a "Jewish home for the gentiles" and said it was forbidden to vote for the party.
"They call them the ‘Jewish Home,’ but this is not a home for Jews; it is a Jewish home for gentiles,” Yosef said on Saturday night during his weekly sermon. "It’s forbidden to vote for them. These are religious people? Anyone who votes for them denies the Torah.”
The attack appears to be over Jewish Home’s position on separation of church and state. Candidates for Jewish Home, which has been rising in the polls, have called for civil marriage and conversion reform.
“Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is an important spiritual leader for numerous publics in Israel, and we have only admiration and respect for him. Habayit Hayehudi’s aim is to be a bridge between different parts of society, and we will continue along that route," the Jewish Home party — Habayit Hayehudi in Hebrew — said in a statement in response to Yosef’s attack. "If we are being attacked by all the parties at the same time, we must be doing something right.”
On Sunday, activists of the haredi Orthodox Shas discovered that religious books housed at its headquarters in Or Yehuda, a city in the Tel Aviv District, were burned in an arson attack.
Also Sunday, the headquarters of the center-left Hatnua party headed by Tzipi Livni was vandalized with spray-painted graffiti reading "Yigal Amir was right." Amir assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a Tel Aviv peace rally in 1995.