In a breathless writing style that only a haredi mother could love, we learn that "[h]undreds of Ashdod and area residents turned out on Monday, the eve of 12 Teves 5773 for an Asifa to decry election campaign events in which the kovod of Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita is being compromised."
Asifa to Safeguard Maran R’ Ovadia’s Kovod
Yeshiva World - Israel
Hundreds of Ashdod and area residents turned out on Monday, the eve of 12 Teves 5773 for an Asifa to decry election campaign events in which the kovod of Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita is being compromised. The event was held in a local facility and the message attracted many as it was attended by most of the city’s prominent rabbonim, including roshei yeshiva and kollelim.
The event began with an address from HaRav HaGaon Aaron Butbul Shlita, who quoted a Mishnah from Sotah which addresses the עקבתא דמשיחא and the lack of Derech Eretz that will be evident (“Cutzpah Yazgir”) during that time against talmidei chachamim.
Another speaker was HaGaon HaRav Shimon Badani, who explained to the tzibur that he felt compelled to speak to condemn the lack of Derech Eretz, the assault on the kovod of Gedolei Torah. The rav explained that during our time, the סטרא אחרא is out there and doing his utmost to prevent talmidim from studying Torah as they should.
What, you may wonder, is compromising Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's kavod, honor? And how many people actually attended this event held in a "local facility"? And what was this local facility, anyway? An auditorium? A wedding hall? A public restroom? A kindergarten classroom? What was the point of this gathering?
The Yeshiva World reporter is American-born and American yeshiva-educated, so this convoluted, bizarre and unclear reporting style has nothing to do with ESL skills.
This is a problem of propaganda and and lack of mental clarity.
Shas, the political party Rabbi Ovadia Yosef founded, is has two defectors.
One, Rabbi Haim Amsellem, is a moderate voice politically and religiously who is well respected across the political and religious spectrum in Israel and abroad. He has recently published a book claiming that the aged Rabbi Yosef is being manipulated by his handlers, especially by two of his sons and one of his daughters-in-law. Amsellem also favors full haredi participation in the military and in the workforce. Amsellem formed his own political party, Am Shalem, and is running for Knesset in the upcoming national elections scheduled to held at the end of January.
The other, Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, is a Yemeni kiruv (missionary) rabbi who is widely regarded as half huckster and half televangelist. Yitzhak makes the same claims about Yosef's handlers that Amsellem does, but he also claims that Yosef told him he should form his own list and run for Knesset – something Yosef's handlers vehemently deny, and very few sane people outside of Yitzhak's followers believe to be true.
The "compromising" of Yosef's honor is that these two men are running in the elections against Shas, and the gathering Yeshiva World is reporting on is really a haredi election rally in support of the Shas Party's ticket – which is, of course, endorsed by Shas' founder and spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
In Ashdod, local Sefardi haredi heavy hitters showed up to stump for Shas and attack Amsellem and Yitzhak, and that meant that some – how many is not clear – local haredim showed up to hear them speak.
Why don't we know how many showed up or where the event was held?
It might just be an oversight by Yeshiva World's Israel reporter, whose American yeshiva education really hasn't served him well.
Or it could be that the number who showed up was small, or that the hall was not prestigious.
Like in the old days of the Soviet Union, reading the haredi press takes skill. It isn't what is printed on the lines that matters as much as what isn't printed there.
It's often the spaces, not the words, that really tell the story.