Cartoon Appears In Israeli Yated & Angers Chacham Ovadia


shas outrage.jpgA cartoon appearing in the Israeli Yated Ne’eman angered Chacham Ovadia Yosef Shlita – to the extent that he ordered the Shas Party to pull out of the Religious Lobby in the Knesset (which is headed by UTJ).

The cartoon shows two men sitting in a lifeguards chair at a swimming pool. One man who was dressed in shorts & sandals – wearing a Yarmulka and trimmed black beard, representing a Shas follower – is in cahoots with a secular person representing Kadima. Wearing a big grin, the two were dumping a rock labeled “2008 cuts” on the head of a Chareidi man – who appears to be drowning.

Behind this confrontation lies a struggle over the 2008 state budget, which is expected to allot NIS 310.6 million to religious institutions, compared with NIS 692.2 million a year earlier.

A Shas statement said: “Degel HaTorah and its newspaper Yated Ne’eman have set out as policy to continue racism and hatred of Sephardim. For the first time an anti-Semitic cartoon that would not have shamed any anti-Semitic paper in the world was published. The Degel HaTorah leadership must rid itself from its hatred for Sephardim, from its patronizing attitude for the Sephardi community, which was its habit before the establishment of Shas.”

[NOTE: Yated Ne’eman in the USA has no connection to the Yated Ne’eman in Eretz Yisroel whatsoever.]

(With reporting by Haaretz)


  1. Why are you reprinting an offensive cartoon? Are you aware that sefardim are part of the Yeshiva World? And since when is Ha’aretz the defender of frum yidden? What is Degel Hatorahs explanation for this?

    Did you contact the Israeli Yated? Have they either A) apologized for a mistake or
    B) informed you that they consulted their Rabbinical board who felt it necessary to print this cartoon as a form of protest.

    Lets print news, not mud slinging!!

  2. This is not about Anti-Semitism. This is about a very real fact. The Shas party tends to do their own thing in Israel and the UTJ has not been able to rely on them for many, many, years. The truth hurts.

  3. Yes, this cartoon is inappropriate as it is laced with very obvious negativity towards fellow Jews (frum and otherwise), however it’s definitely not racism and the fact that we have to worry about this ridiculous use of “the race card” to cloud actual political issues in Israel is sad.

  4. I’m not into Chareidi, Israeli politics and therefore don’t fully understand the message of the cartoon. But I fail to see how this cartoon is anti-semitic or anti-sephardic. It’s a group of people sending a message to a political party saying: You are hurting us really badly with your policies, please change them. I don’t see anything wrong with that at all!

  5. The Shas party was founded at the behest of Harav Schach zt’l in order to address the historic problem the Sephardim suffered within Aguda of lack of representation. Arieh Deri was very close to the Gedolei Yisroel and he himself left Shas when they supported the Left and their anti- religious policies. Was Arieh Deri therefore also a racist and anti-sephardi?

  6. It’s unfortunate that in this generation, we have members of Klal Yisrael who view themselves as elitist. The founders of the medina created an impression that the sephardim are second class, and unfortunately there ARE members of the Ashkenazi Bnei Torah community who continue to act as if the Tziyonim were right. We are all Bnei Avraham, Yitzchak V’yaakov. We are a nation of princes and princesses, and we are all family.
    It’s sad to see that there are members of our people who view their brothers and sisters as “different”.
    When my children fight, it hurts me very much. I’m sure you feel the same way. Hashem surely feels great pain when things like this happen.

  7. To #11:
    Because that it the only thing that is available to them from the govt. They don’t do a very good job of protecting us, nor do we like or agree to their education nor religious nor political policies. At least they used to give us money. They don’t even do that too much any more.
    Hence the cartoon.

  8. “Yes, this cartoon is inappropriate as it is laced with very obvious negativity towards fellow Jews (frum and otherwise)”
    Whether the cuts are bad or not, the cartoon is not hateful or racist or anything. If a group makes a political party, it opens itself up to disagreements with those who have different opinions. That’s in no way racist.

  9. Kruskal: Aryeh Deri did not leave because they supported the left that is a completely inaccurate statement. He got sent to jail and decided to leave politics and just learn after he got out of jail. Famous story that Aryeh Deri ask Rav Shach for mechilah before he went to jail for not siding with him. But he did not leave because shas sided with labor.

    The cartoon is offensive because the there is just no reason to be showing shas in cahoots with the secular. That is NOT the case or what Hacham Ovadia wants. Why does the Ashkenazim have to show this? Woudl they have shown it regarding their own organization? Probably not. Charedim know that everyting their political party does reflects their Gadol. If I saw a picture with degel hatorah sitting in that chair with the secualr jew I woul assume it was Rav Elyashiv making the call. Which is similar to them insulting Shas which means you are insulting the Hacham Ovadia.

    Shas is trying their best to do all that they can, which is getting money for their own Yeshivot which is what their initiative is and one of the reasons they must remain significant. If degel hatorah was as powerful as Shas would they send money to the Sephardic schools?

    In summation the cartoon is anti-sephardic just for the reson there is a cartoon at all. We are all charedi andhold by the Torah and our gedolim. We are not the secular that hits each others weak points in public. The fact that this cartoon can be published publicly shows a lack of respect for what we are trying to do, which unfortunately has been pursuing for too long: gain equal respect among the Ashkenazim.

  10. Israeli Yated has always been tossing mud balls, at all religious groups that do not subscribe to their priorities.
    Let us all sing together Lipa S big hit ‘GELT, GELT!!’ When a society has no way to exist outside of government funds, there is always verbal and physical fights. The earliest settlements of Jews in E”Y only existed on monies sent in from aboard, it will NOT work anymore, got to figure a new equation.

  11. emesvyatziv,
    is it only the religious parties that care about gelt???? They ALL do!!!! And you have to be a fool to live in a country that everyone else gets gelt and you dont and keep quiet.

    Aryeh Deri left Shas when he was forced to…no???

  12. 1) how exactly is this racist? I dont really get it.
    2) kruksal – why dont you review your history/israeli politics. Aryeh Deri didnt leave “when their supported the left and their anti-religoius policies.” He left for other reasons which I dont think need to be mentioned on such a site as I was a fan of Aryeh Deri and think he did great things for Shas, things that Eli Yishai can only dream of doing. But lets call a spade a spade. thats NOT why he left, ok?

  13. Aryeh Deri: Off the subject a little, but I must say that if Arye Deri wasn’t forced out of politics (I think he ws framed), he might be prime minister or have a really good chance of becoming one. There was noone in history who was so well liked by both the religious and anti-religious. The government after seeing this got nervous…(hope I don’t sound like one of those conspiracy theory people but you have to look at the facts of this story and you’ll see what I mean).

  14. How is this racist:

    Its racist becuase why are the sephardim looked at as different? We have tried so hard to integrate into the Ashkenaz Charedi community but its been hard and a lot of our efforts have been failed. There is still a set quota of the amount of Sephardim taken into Charedi schools in Israel (which is why we have to create our own schools in the first place) and even in Lakewood there are quotas of sephardim taken into mainstream schools. I don’t want to sound like Al Sharpton or something Chas Veshalom, but these are the realities and hardships that a Speahrdic person faces today. I am not even going to mention Shidduchim which is a whole other bag of issues. In summation: Ashkenaz chareidim do not treat sepahrdim equally and this cartoon just spells it out.

  15. Let’s be real-THIS IS ISREALI POLITICS!
    Politics = MONEY, mudslinging, and more MONEY! The only reason any frum party was allowed to join the Tziony government is so the frumma have some representation. Sadly, they can get sucked into the politics of politics, turn against each other and lose sight of the objective.

  16. 1. the cartoon is not racist just trying to describe money thats being lost from yeshivas

    2. i dont think yated has a right to complain because when degel was in the government they were also only worried about their money,

  17. #16: Actually Degel has no problem attacking Aguda when it sees it doing wrong. Say what you want aobut attacking another frum party, it may be good or bad, is has NOTHING to do with racism or anti-anything. It is a statement against a political party. If you really have Sephardi pride, stop playing the “nebach” race card, like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson do in the media all the time. Sephardim and Ashkenazim are equal, right? So we can disagree, right? So when I (an Ashkenazi) disagree with you (a Sephardi) don’t go crying and calling me a racist. Okay?

  18. torahis1, (#12)

    “A more accurate cartoon should show the Chareidi saying ‘Thank you for the gelt, I appreciate the fact that half the budget is earmarked towards Chareidi mosdos!’”

    Are you kidding? You think half the Israeli budget is earmarked towards chareidim?????

    Or did you mean that we should thank them for only cutting the chareidi budget in half instead of reducing it to zero?

    Yeah, I guess we should accept that we are second class citizens and accept whatever crumbs the gov’t throws our away, and kiss their feet for it. Who cares if the education of every other group’s children are paid for by the state, be they secular, nation religious, christian, arab, druze, or whatever. There’s no reason to expect equality. We are second class citizens after all. Its not like they force us to wear yellow stars or anything.

    And now that you have enlightened me, I realize that Rav Cohen should never have taken De Harteuch to court for slapping him in the face. He should have just thanked him for only slapping him and not killing him, right?

  19. To sephardic pride-

    You state that “Its racist becuase why are the sephardim looked at as different?”.

    I still don’t understand. How is this cartoon related to sephardim being looked at as different? This is a political cartoon about a political party, Shas. The other religious parties feel they have a grievance (I have no idea of the validity of this claim) and are expressing this through a cartoon medium.

    Again, how is this related to the way Ashkenazim look at Sephardim? Because Shas is Sephardic? So if Shas would run a cartoon or otherwise denigrate the UTJ party, this would indicate racism against Ashkenazim? For that matter, if it appears that Shas favors the needs of Labor (as this cartoon seems to imply) over those of their Ashkenazi counterparts, does this indicate that Shas is discriminating against Ashkenazi charedim?

    It has always been my understanding (correct me if I am wrong) that in the Knesset, it is the religious parties, other than Shas, that are the underdogs, and Shas has real power. How is it possible that the party with power feels victimized if others are upset with their policies?

    Please understand that I take your very real complaints regarding Sephardim seriously, and feel that much has to be done to correct these wrongs. I agree with you!

    I just am having a difficult time understanding why this specific cartoon is being labeled “racist” or indicative of feelings against Sephardimg (versus feelings against policies a party disagrees with).

    I am very open to hearing your explanation.

  20. BTW, during the tenure of Menechem Begin Z”l, funds to yeshivos were the highest (prior reltionship with REb Aryeh Levin)ever, at that time did our community ever say, todah raba, boruch hashem, we owe you one, high five or anything of that sort…..the answer is No, since our attitude was he is a shliach and very nice for him, so once again, we got a shliach and it is not so nice for us.

  21. stan the man (#17),

    “The earliest settlements of Jews in E”Y only existed on monies sent in from aboard, it will NOT work anymore, got to figure a new equation. ”

    The heilige medinah relies on US foreign aid more than the early yishuv relied on money from abroad, but nice try.

  22. I feel that we must do everything to defend the honour of Chacham Ovadia SHLIT”A. “Lithuanian” Jewry would have been enfuriated if it was Rav Shach Z”L that was being ATTACKED.
    By the way, as purim is fast approaching, one quick thought! Is it possible that the reason why Aryeh Deri left Shas was because he did not want to offend Chacham Ovadia Shlit”a by going against his sacred word. You see, I am sure we all recall that the Chacham came out that (let’s be clear on this) HIS sefaradim should not go to Uman. Aryeh Deri goes to Uman, hence, his departure from Shas (hindsight is 20/20). Ah freilichin purim!

  23. charlie brown,
    Great name, your logic and posting is sorely lacking.
    First of all, the Charedi parties should be thankful for any hand-outs coming their way from the Israeli government, even if their budget allotment was cut; they are an expense and do not contribute financially to the upkeep of the country.
    Secondly, if the leadership of Degel Hatorah and Agudah did not impose quota’s on how many Sephardic children could enter the chedarim, there would be unity in both schooling and funding. This unity would contributetowards a stronger representation within the government, essentially garnering greater resources for all Charedi schools.
    Lastly, the fact that the funding of the (Ashkenazi) Charedi schools were cut does not justify putting down the Sephardic Charedi community, constructive criticism or a simply dialog might go a lot further towards attaining the most funds for Charedi schooling from the gov’t.

  24. #24: I am not playing the race card, and have never played the race card and most Sepahrdim play the race card. You do not know me and are also not Spehardic, so please don’t judge me or any other Sephardim. I was just explaining what a lot of sephardim are unfortunately facing today in the chareidi world. It not “nebach” its just life. You don’t see us protesting outside the Bais Yaakovs because there are quotas on Sephardim- we just quitely make our own schools. If you think that what I am saying is falsehoods and comlaining, that coudl be because you are unfortunately just unaware of what is actually happening.

  25. These comments appeared in the Haaretz Talkback on this issue:

    Kol Hakavod Rav Yosef !
    Bravo for this brave stand against bigotry.

    Wrong! This is no brave stand against anything. It is all part of the politics of the fight over the elections in Beitar Illit. Despite all the unkind things Yahadut Hatorah are saying about Shas, just before Succot MK Meir Porush of the Yahadut Hatorah party entered into a comprehensive coalition agreemnt with Shas involving the cities of Beitar Illit and Beit Shemesh. He would have for certain lost the Mayoralty in Beitar (actually his stooge candidate) if he had not won Shas support. He knew then about the State budget and the Shas stand but so much for principles! This is about politics and money. Incidentally the symbol of the Porush party in Beitar is שח, the hebrew letters Shin Het, shanding for Shekels. How appropriate!

    My grandson lives in Beitar and he tells me terrible things are happening there. The tyres of the Mayor`s official car were all slashed during Shabbat, people are talking in the name of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef cursing their fellow Jews, doom and destruction is being predicted unless the Agudat Yisrael candidate wins – and all this in the name of Judaism. It is really frightful. Why don`t the Rabbis of Agudat Yisrael and Rabbi Yosef put a stop to their followers awful baseless hatred of their fellow Jews?

    Rabbi Yosef`s often blood curdling public comments about the non-religious and the religious who do not form part of his camp, i.e. the Ashkenazi Jews, simply show him up as the primitive he is. It is he who immortalizes the stereotypes people have of Sepharadim.

  26. #34
    That can not happen in Kiryat Sefer, since there is a policy board in control of who can buy & rent in the city, the city was build for ashkenzic kollel families.

  27. sharpestnail – no. It means learning history, mathematics etc etc. If these things were taught in INSULATED environments (ie our own Yeshivos), how exactly do you see this leading to violence or drugs?? Explain to me the connection between learning algebra and doing drugs. Id be happy to hear.

  28. Ashkenazim should not discriminate against sefardim for not being able to think of a sevara, just as sefardim don’t discriminate against ashkenazim for not being able to keep more than 3 halachos in their head at any given time.
    If we would accept each others “gedolim” to be great men for excelling in their particular strength, we would have a greater degree of SHALOM!

  29. #34: Terrible the way you talk about a Rav. In the person’s efforts to sound reprimanding he sounds like on eof the hoodlums himself. So disrepectful.

    Editor: Please remove this denigrating of a gadol from your board. This is not kavid to talk about a Gadol this way. This is wha is supposed to seperate yeshiva world from the Haaretz comment above.

  30. house770,
    sharps point was that who’s to decide on whats core curiculum. After all, are we training our kids to have a lot of academic knowledge or to be mentchen. So take a look at the results of a failed 60 year experiment and you’ll see the obvious differences between those kids that are getting establishment core curiculum and those in insular schools.

  31. ok for all those that dont understand why hacham ovadia would be upser with this cartoon. heres an explanation.
    The cartoon itself is seemingly indicative of how the Ashkenazi Haredim see their Sephardi counterparts. The UTJ and their supporters have marveled at, and been disappointed, by the Sephardi inclusiveness across boundaries of religious observance. What is seen as positive to many, that Shas attracts secular, traditional and religious voters, appears to compromise them in the eyes of some Ashkenazim.

    Every year we hear stories of schools like the Beit Yaakov who deny Sephardi girls a place to learn. Many Haredi schools even openly admit that they have a quota system for Sephardi girls, which is completely illegal according to ACRI (the Association for Civil Rights in Israel). Although this is discriminatory, some have said that one of the reasons for this is because many Sephardi Haredim have non-religious relatives and that brings shame on the schools or seminaries.

    As I have written in earlier blogs, this is a major difference in the outlooks between the two groups of Haredim. This is something the Ashkenazi Haredi world can’t comprehend and cannot stomach. The communities of Bnei Berak and Meah Shearim were set up to keep out the non-religious influences and to make a separation between them and the outside world. In the Sephardi communities, few walls such as these exist. In the synagogues and the homes, Haredi and non-Haredi mix openly and happily.

    This is why Yeted Ne’eman drew a debatably Haredi man who compromises his way of life defined by his dress code, to represent Shas. This is where the two outlooks are in the greatest friction, and while the Ashkenazim mean the depiction as an insult, the Sephardi community, while insulted, see the general phenomena as positive.

    I think all of this is self evident and shouldnt even have to be explained.