Photo: Kobi Gideon, Flash 90
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef stepped up his anti-secular rhetoric on Saturday when he branded non-religious education and the civil justice system as "corrupting, evil forces."
Yosef, who made the remarks during his weekly lecture, decreed that any parent who sends his kids to secular schools is unfit to lead his congregation in prayer at the synagogue, even if he maintains a religious lifestyle.
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"Anyone who sends his sons (to secular schools) should know that he is corrupting them, burying them, and is unfit to serve as a Shaliah Tzibbur," the rabbi said, referring to the customary role of a cantor that is assigned to synagogue-going men on a rotating basis.
The Sephardic religious leader claimed that most teachers within the secular education system are heretics, which is why their students go on to embrace an "evil culture and become wicked." They also grow up without religion or justice and do not uphold Jewish customs, he said.
'Judges are evil'
Yosef went on the slam religious judges within the Israeli justice system, whom he also considers unworthy of representing their congregation on the synagogue podium.
"Their justice follows the laws of non-Jewish nations, not (the laws of) the Torah. They accept the testimony of women. These kinds of people are evil," he said.
The rabbi said that once he had to disqualify a couple's Ketubah – the traditional Jewish marriage contract – because one of the witnesses who signed it was a judge.
"(Judges) cannot serve as witnesses for marriage. Any man who uses them as witnesses in his wedding makes his wife a whore. The marriage is invalid," he said.
He reviled the "secular courts" as an affront to Jewish law and yeshiva students.
"They hate the Torah," he said.
Addressing the Iranian nuclear threat, Yosef called on worshipers to pray.
"Evil (forces) – Iran – are about to destroy us," he said. "We must pray to God with all our hearts. We are in danger. We are all in danger. We have no one to lean on besides God."