September 2, 2007

Jewish Extremism

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Religious believers love to insist that they are given a bad name by extremist fringe groups and that it is not fair to generalize from such groups to the larger community of believers. Okay, then what are we to do when a particularly influential and widely admired religious leader publicly puts his foot in his mouth?

Ovadia Yosef, described by The Washington Post as "a highly respected religious scholar among Jews of Middle Eastern descent," has made controversial statements to the effect that Israeli soldiers were killed in battle because they were not sufficiently religious. 

I suppose some Christians will be delighted to learn that the Jewish community has their own Pat Robertson. What did Yosef say?
"Is it any wonder if, heaven forbid, soldiers are killed in a war?" he said, "when they don't observe the Sabbath, they don't observe the Torah, they don't pray every day, they don't put on phylacteries every day. Is it any wonder that they're killed? It's no wonder."
With the focus of the U.S. squarely on Islamic extremism and the focus of this blog primarily on Christian extremism, it is sometimes easy to forget that there may be such a thing as Jewish extremism too.

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