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Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's promise of heaven for Shas voters is banned from TV
Photo: Eli Elgarat
Shas 'heaven' broadcast banned
Religious party's TV political broadcast shows spiritual head Rabbi Ovadia Yosef promising a place in heaven to those who vote for Shas; Party Chairman Eli Yishai slams decision by 'those who silence the words of the Torah and representative of worldview of hatred and destruction of Judaism'
Central Elections Committee Chairwoman Judge Dorit Beinish banned a Shas political ad on Saturday evening, in which a place in heaven for voters of Shas was promised after their death by the party's spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

 

Beinish said that the broadcast constitutes banned content. She took the decision despite the fact that no petitions had been submitted against the ad.

 

Following the decision, Shas Chairman Eli Yishai bitterly attacked the decision, and in light of Purim, even used a hinted comparison to draw parallels between Beinish and Haman (the villain in the story of Purim).

 

"Those who silence the words of the Torah are the representatives of a world view which leans on hatred and the destruction of Judaism. I'm happy to hear that the judge believes in heaven and prevented the Israeli people from hearing the rabbi speaking about it," said Yishai.

 

He added: "The chairwoman of the thought police bans Jewish messages without petitions being made against them, and these are anti-Jewish things from the school of Shinui, which suit the 1930s. I am pained by the fact that in the state of Jews there are those seeking to censor, destroy, and lose the words of the Torah, and the Israeli people will not give a helping hand to this. Shas voters won't bow down to the judge, and that's why Rabbi Ovadia is saying again that those who vote for Shas will see heaven."

 

'Shas dangerous for democracy'

 

Retiring Shinui Knesset Member Ilan Shalgi condemned the comments of Shas Chairman Eli Yishai, and said that Yishai's comments should be condemned by all parties. "Promises of heaven and debasing a High Court judge are a dangerous combination for democracy," he said.

 

During the Shas ad, footage is shown of Rabbi Ovadia addressing enthused followers showing a Shas rally.

 

Rabbi Ovadia told his listeners about a man who reaches heavens and fears God's verdict. At that point, a white angel appears and tells the man he is heading to heaven for building a mikvah (Jewish ritual bath) and a synagogue. The man says he has not done any of that because he had no money, but later admits he did vote for Shas.

 

The angel's reply: "Exactly. And by sending emissaries who built mikvahs and synagogues and safeguarded the world of Torah, you're a party to mitvzot and your place is in heaven." Therefore, the rabbi explained, anyone who votes for Shas will end up in heaven.

 

Anti-religious ad banned too

 

A few days ago, Judge Beinish banned an ad by Shas' biggest rival, Shinui, in which a secular person is seen walking towards a poll, with ultra-Orthodox men grasping his legs. After the man votes for Shinui, the religious figures disappear one after the other.

 

The elections committee said that the Shinui ad was banned "because their content severely offended the ultra-Orthodox public, and also constitute an inappropriate offense to the sensitivities of the general public."

 

Judge Beinish refrained from banning the Shinui broadcast on the first elections day, and Shinui was asked to edit the ad. After the party failed to make changes, the broadcast was banned.

 

In actuality however, the broadcast was not completely banned, but was shown with parts of it 'darkened.'

 


First published: 11.03.06, 21:16
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