Reports: Future of Mideast Peace Process in the Hands of Chacham Ovadiah Yosef


rav-ovadiah-yosefReports by media agencies around the world are portraying the future of the Mideast peace process as resting in the hands of Chacham Ovadiah Yosef, head of Shas’ Moetzet Chachmei Hatorah and one of the gedolei Torah of our day.

The Shas Party is expected to hold the swing vote when Cabinet ministers decide on a U.S. proposal to resume Mideast peace talks. The two Shas ministers participating in the decision are waiting for instructions from the 90-year-old Sefardic gadol..

“All decisions go through the rav,” said Roi Lachmanovitch, a spokesman for the Shas’ Eli Yishai.

Officials in Netanyahu’s office said this morning that his 15-member Security Cabinet – a group of senior government ministers – remains closely divided, with the outcome of the vote hinging on the two Shas members. Amid the uncertainty, Israeli officials said a planned vote for today had been put on hold.

Netanyahu spokesman Gidi Schmerling said Israel is still waiting for a formal U.S. written proposal outlining the assurances before voting.

Netanyahu is under heavy American pressure to accept the U.S. proposal to freeze most West Bank settlement construction for 90 days in order to persuade the Palestinians to resume peace talks. The goal would be to lead to critical negotiations on Israel’s final borders with a future Palestinian state.

In exchange, the U.S. is promising Israel a list of assurances, including 20 next-generation stealth warplanes and critical diplomatic support at the United Nations, according to Israeli officials.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley refused to comment on whether the U.S. was willing to give Israel assurances in writing.

According to people in Netanyahu’s office, seven ministers are in favour of the new three-month building freeze, and six oppose it. Just two ministers haven’t indicated how they will vote. Both are from Shas.

Lachmanovitch, the Shas spokesman, said the ministers would only abstain if the U.S. provides a written guarantee that Israel can continue building in east Jerusalem during the proposed 90-day moratorium, and that after the freeze, Israel will be permitted to resume settlement activity in the West Bank.

The final word rests with Rav Yosef.

Recognizing Rav Yosef’s influence, Danny Danon, a member of the Likud, sent a letter to Rav Yosef on Tuesday asking him to seek written assurances from the Americans that the 90-day building freeze would be the last.

Another Israeli official confirmed the prime minister’s office has been communicating with Rav Yosef. “Of course information has been shared with the Shas leadership,” the official said.

Lachmanovitch denied that Rav Yosef was approached by the prime minister’s staff, or that he was at the center of a lobbying campaign.

“No one pressures the rav,” Lachmanovitch said.

{Yair Israel-Agencies, Reuters, The Canadian Press}


  1. Hagaon Rav Ovadia is one of a kind and loving kindness and warmth is incredible. One should go daven with him in yerushalayim at 7:15 har nof everyone is welcome. Except there is security. Newspapers of all brands rated R’ Ovaida the most influential Rabbi in the state of Israel in the past 60 years. May he live to 120 years , Amen! Thanks matzav for posting this!

  2. Why hasn’t Shas opposed it outright??? Having someting in writing means absolutely nothing. Do they really believe that Obama will honor it? Why are they giving any credence to Obama who is, IMO, another Haman.

    Yasher koach to the ministers who how had the guts to vote no and and not pander to Obama.

  3. While there’s no doubt that Reb Ovadya is extremly influential in many decisions taken by the state but lets put matters in focus here, Achmadinejad is the real man calling the shots as far as peace is concerned, and even the Americans have entirely lost their influence throughout the entire region, believe otherwise and your nothing but delusional!

  4. G-d has created the current stalemate on the cosmic chessboard. His timetable will trump all others. He has a plan for the Holy Land, Middle East and Planet Earth. A World Peace Conference should be held in Jerusalem on May 16th, 2011. The momentum and energy created by a focus and intention to meet on this date will facilitate certain negotiations between all the parties. There are an enormous amount of issues to be resolved, but G-d would not give us a puzzle that could not be solved. The universe is stable, ordered, benevolent and expansive. The prophecies are crystal clear that all people will turn to Jerusalem for guidance at some point in human history. Everyone should either go with the current cosmic flow. Continued denial of G-d’s wishes will prove disastrous.

    P.S. Moshiach isn’t late. G-d isn’t late. Maybe the various leaders and their followers are late in coming to certain realisations.

  5. Dear Adam Neira, you sound like one spaced out dude. I would love to meet you at that peace conference on May 11th, don’t forget to bring your roaches ’cause I’ll have some pretty good weed. I think we can party till Tish’ a bov. Can’t wait to meet you Dude. The big Leboski