Kobi Nahshoni
July 26, 2009 - 12:00am

In his weekly sermon Saturday evening, Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef slammed US President Barack Obama and other western leaders for pressuring Israel to freeze construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

"'You can't build here, you can't build there' – it's as if we were their slaves," the rabbi protested. "We are being ruled by slaves," he said," adding that, "Our messiah will come and throw them out."

Rabbi Ovadia also bemoaned the current reality in the Temple Mount, saying: "Where is our temple? There are Arabs there!" He then promised that the messiah "will throw all these evil ones out of here."

Rabbi Ovadia's sermon was mostly dedicated to the customs of the Fast of Tisha B'Av, which will be marked on Thursday. He stressed that reading the newspaper was forbidden on that day, because it was a distraction from the day's mourning. The rabbi stated that taking a walk on Tisha B'Av is prohibited as well.

Instead of studying Torah, which is also forbidden, Rabbi Ovadia recommended to study mourning rituals or books on ethics.

However, he noted that in general, only by studying the Torah can the arrival of the Messiah be brought closer.


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