This past Thursday should have been a festive occasion for Binyomin Netanyahu’s new government. Having presented his fourth government, Netanyahu has broken the record for heading the largest number of governments as prime minister. But although he attained a majority in the Knesset, and he and his ministers were sworn in, it did not turn out to be a happy day.
The story you are about to read may sound bizarre, even impossible, but it is exactly what took place on Monday morning. And it is very apropos, both for the State of Israel in general and for the Knesset in particular.
In the sky, the Sunday afternoon sun was blazing with all its intensity, as if to show us that it was not apathetic to the events unfolding on the ground below. In a way, that mirrored the reaction of the Jewish people, a nation that has suddenly been united by a calamity.
Rav Ovadiah Yosef zt”l did not often give interviews. He didn’t need to. He spoke regularly to the people, in thousands of drashos that were broadcast to tens of thousands of listeners and in hundreds of shiurim delivered throughout the country. Whatever he demanded of rabbonim or dayanim, he fulfilled in himself. He readily gave of his very being for the benefit of the Jewish people. Both when he served as the rov of Tel Aviv and during his tenure as chief rabbi of Israel, he delivered his messages to secular newspapers both fearlessly and mercilessly. The more he defended Yiddishkeit and halacha, the more he was admired by the media, including the publications of Mapai (Davar) and Mapam (Al Hamishmar). The following are a number of excerpts from the interviews Rav Ovadiah gave during those years.