The earthquake that hit Israel on Monday was cause by more than a mere geological reason – or so Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar believes.
In a radio interview held Wednesday, the rabbi said that the timing of the earthquake, as the debate over the enlistment of the haredi public to the IDF intensifies, was not a coincidence.
"The fact that the Torah and those who study it are being persecuted, that there are schisms within the Jewish nation that may create, God forbid, incitement and hate – is very serious," the rabbi said.
"See for yourself, the (political) storm has just begun and yesterday we were told that there was an earthquake in Israel," he added.
Yet in spite of these controversial statements, Rabbi Amar stressed that he was not concerned for the fate of the Torah – and compared the crisis to a storm that will soon pass.
"We have no fear," he noted, "We have a promise from God that 'it will not be forgotten' (the Torah). It has never been forgotten, it will never be forgotten…The world of Torah will continue, the yeshiva students will continue (to study), scholars – their glory will continue to rise with honor.
"We need to pray," he added. "Hate needs to be feared, schisms need to be feared, Torah has nothing to fear and Torah students have nothing to fear."
The rabbi made it clear that "there were many periods (in our history) that were more difficult, there were great kings that rose up against Israel with bottomless hate."
Amar further criticized those demonstrating for a universal draft law and said: "They think that (the yeshiva students) are draft-dodgers. Let them, the heroes, try and sit and study one week all day and see what real hardship is."
Later the rabbi hinted that the demand to draft the haredim was the devil's work: "The devil is great artist, and every time it comes, in a new, interesting and thrilling visage… it is all false, idleness, deception and barefaced lies."