Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party in Israel. He basically tells all of Shas' ministers what to do and how to vote. He holds the last word for Sephardic Jews in Israel, and has come up with exciting insights of Jewish dos and don'ts, and Politics in general such as Almost a sixth of the Israelis voted for Shas in the last elections, and most of them take his word as holy.

Editors note: After being hospitalized for a series of illnesses, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef died Monday October 7, 2013. He was 93 years old.

The Amalekites were a sect of the Canaanites who attacked the Israelites from the rear, killing many women and children. King Saul was ordered by G-d to kill all of the Amalekites, but instead he spared their king. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef declared that Yossi Sarid, the leader of (at the time) the Meretz Party (the most left wing party in the Knesset) was an Amalekite, which is probably the closest one can get to an incitement to violence in Judaism. Having held the office of Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel some time in the 60’s or 70’s, Ovadia became the spiritual leader of the Shas party, and, for a time, one of the most powerful men in Israel. Israel’s elections work on a proportional representation system, and, as such, any government needs to be a coalition of parties. This means that the second largest party in the coalition is the most powerful, since it can threaten to walk out if it does not get what it wants. Shas spent most of the last 10 years as the third largest party, and hence, Ovadia was one of the most powerful men is Israel for a time. Many Israeli’s see him as a source of inspiration and a role model, given that he is one of the greatest Talmudic Scholars alive today, despite being blind. Others see him as an anachronism, a symbol of everything bad about orthodox Judaism. Then again, some people see him as a joke figure who sits in a throne and wears an ornamented cereal bowl on his head…

Editors note: After being hospitalized for a series of illnesses, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef died Monday October 7, 2013. He was 93 years old.

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