Yaakov Yosef, the eldest son of Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, was recently uninvited from a day of Torah studies meant for soldiers in the Kfir brigade. The ban marks the IDF's recent stream of decisions to leave the decision of approving lectures given by religious leaders to the Military Rabbinate.
Several weeks ago, commanders from the Kfir brigade made a request to the Military Rabbinate to invite Rabbi Yaakov Yosef to lecture at a Torah Seminar for IDF soldiers. After some deliberation the request was denied.
When explaining their decision, IDF officials said that the decision to forbid Rabbi Yosef from speaking to soldiers was not a sweeping decision, but rather one that stemmed from the Rabbi's controversial anti-IDF statements.
Among the anti-IDF statements voiced by Yosef were ones concerning the IDF Torah scrolls. The Rabbi questioned whether they were halachakli "kosher."
The Rabbi further said that "a religious soldier in the IDF is like an orphan. He has no father who can take care of him and his religious needs."
In response to the IDF's decision Yonatan Yosef, son of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef said: "The IDF's decision to disinvite my father is a disgrace. If they ban my father from speaking to the soldiers, the soldiers will come to him."
IDF officials have denied accusations that their decision to ban Rabbi Yaakov Yosef from attending the seminar has any connection to his recent anti-IDF statements. One official said: “Two months ago, we received a request to invite Rabbi Yaakov Yosef to lecture at a Torah learning seminar. After looking into the request, other lecturers' seemed more relevant to the seminar topic and therefore the Rabbi's participation was canceled.”