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Reform Movement Condemns Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's Inflammatory Comments

Rabbi Saperstein: "Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's comments about the Palestinian people saying that, "Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this earth," are morally reprehensible. We utterly reject such sentiments as anathema to Jewish values and the beliefs of the Jewish people."

Contact: Eric Harris
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 30, 2010 -- In response to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's hateful comments on Saturday regarding Abu Mazen and the Palestinian people, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's comments about the Palestinian people saying that, "Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this earth," are morally reprehensible. We utterly reject such sentiments as anathema to Jewish values and the beliefs of the Jewish people. Sadly, this is far from the first time that Rabbi Yosef has engaged in the most outrageous types of hate speech.

Although we support the right of every citizen to speak freely in the vibrant democracy that is Israel, threats or acts of violence are abhorrent and cannot be tolerated. We, therefore, welcome Prime Minster Netanyahu's prompt and unequivocal statement that Yosef's statements "do not reflect the approach of the Prime Minster, nor the government of Israel."

As we approach peace talks in Washington this week, and Rosh Hashanah next week, we pray for progress on the path for peace for Israel and her neighbors. We ask God for strength and guidance for all involved - Israelis, Palestinians and Americans - as we try to shape a better and more hopeful future for the Middle East.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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