Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita recently met in his Har Nof home with National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror, briefed on the situation regarding Iran’s nuclear program and a possible Israeli assault, YWN-ISRAEL reported.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is seeking the support of chareidi ministers and MKs for an assault against Iran, the reason for the high-level official meeting with Chacham Ovadia. In addition, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with the Belzer Rebbe Shlita, also to explain the situation regarding Iran. The prime minister is seeking as much support as he can muster for such a major decision, which according to some will result a regional war.
According to analysts Yaakov Rivlin (BaKehilla) and Eliezer Schulman (Mishpacha), despite the meeting with Amidror and Rav Ovadia, Shas leader Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai is opposed to an Israeli attack at this time.
Rivlin explains that the media leak of the meeting was known to all, with one exception, Eli Yishai, who was sent to make a shiva visit following the petira of Zev Wolfson z”l.
“When Yishai returned to Israel at 7:40, he turned on his phone and among the messages was the notice that the leak of the meeting was scheduled to be a major item in the day’s main evening news.”
Yishai panicked for he managed to remain silent on the Iranian issue for over a year, both regarding his own personal opinion as well regarding the many meetings held at the rav’s home regarding the Iranian matter, including meetings with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other senior officials, none of which were leaked to the media.
It appears Yishai was actually furious, as were officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, but for different reasons. The explanation is that Yishai is known to be opposed to an IDF strike. Amidror was sent to persuade Rav Ovadia to support a strike and the leak is being interpreted by PM Office officials as the work of Yishai, who wanted to make the meeting known as to make it more difficult for Rav Ovadia to be persuaded by Amidror.
Rivlin however maintains in actuality, Amidror was not sent to bring Rav Ovadia on board, but to bring Yishai on board, explaining the timing was not coincidental.
Rivlin feels that Amidror was sent ‘to crack the nut’, to persuade Rav Ovadia to pressure Yishai into supporting the move. While Yishai could have prevented the meeting from taking place, he would not do so – aware it would anger officials in the PM’s Office. Such a move was too direct and a non-starter, preventing the national security advisor from meeting the rav.
Rivlin speculates that Amidror presented the rav with a worrisome picture as far as the Iran reality, a presentation that included classified information attesting to the rapid Iranian progress towards building an atom bomb. Amidror stressed the window of opportunity for an attack was rapidly closing.
Rivlin theorizes that during the meeting, Rav Ovadia asked questions but did not express an opinion. Regarding Yishai, he has not changed his position for he was aware of the facts as he is a deputy prime minister. He is aware of the threat as well as the risk factor resulting from an aerial assault.
Mishpacha’s Schulman explains Amidror was sent to reveal some information that has been concealed to date. When Amidror completed his presentation, Rav Ovadia said ‘what about the future regarding avreichim Torah as their profession? (תורתו אמנותו), asking why the administration is compromising the Torah tzibur?
Schulman continues to explain that Amidror, who is part of the dati leumi community tried to evade responding to the rav’s question, but Rav Ovadia remained adamant, seeking a response.
According to persons in the National Security Council, Amidror heard the following – Go back to the man who sent you and tell him that part of the umbrella of security enjoyed by Israel from Iran comes from limud Torah. There is the scenario presented by Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon that can be accepted. Let your sender take responsibility in dealing with the defense minister, and I will accept responsibility for Eli Yishai’s vote as well as the other Shas ministers.
According to the report, Amidror tried in earnest to explain the significance of the rav’s words to the prime minister, the connection between the avreichim and Iran as Schulman correctly adds that the mission of persuading the prime minister was a difficult one for Amidror, for he personally supports military service for all as a member of the dati leumi community and a former major-general in military intelligence.
What is for certain is that if the report is accurate, and Rav Ovadia linked support for an attack against Iran with a new Tal Law arrangement for avreichim, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will find himself in a most difficult place with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who wants nothing more than to draft as many avreichim as possible.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)