Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Yosef's latest comments were tantamount to calling for "genocide against Palestinians" and demanded a firm response from the Israeli government.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday afternoon that Rabbi Yosef's remarks "do not reflect my approach or the stand of the Israeli government."
The prime minister added in a statement that "Israel is attending the negotiations out of a desire to move forward with the Palestinians to an agreement which would put an end to the conflict and guarantee peace, security and good neighborly relations between the two people."
According to Erekat, "Ovadia called for the assassination of President Abbas, who in several days will sit face-to-face with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Is this the way the Israeli government is preparing its public for a peace agreement?" he asked.
Erekat urged the government to condemn the statement and take appropriate measures "against the ongoing Israeli incitement and the racism against Palestinians."
He argued that "while the PLO is ready to resume the negotiations seriously and with good will, a member of the Israeli government calls for our destruction. This is an insult to all our efforts to advance the negotiations process."
During his weekly lesson, held at the synagogue near his house in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har-Nof, the rabbi mentioned the blessing said at the Rosh Hashana feast that says, "May our enemies and adversaries be destroyed", and applied it to the current situation. "Abu Mazen (Abbas) and all those evil men – may they perish from this world. May God Almighty strike them and these Palestinians."
Arriving at the Prime Minister's Office for a weekly cabinet meeting Sunday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai of Shas declined to comment when asked by reporters about Yosef's sermon.
Reuters contributed to this report
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook