Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Eli Ben Dahan was verbally assaulted Wednesday in Jerusalem while paying a condolence call to the family of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who died on Monday.
Followers of the late rabbi shouted out at the deputy minister to “take off your kippah,” as well as calling him “hater of Israel” as he was leaving the mourners’ tent, presumably because of the alliance between Ben Dahan’s Jewish Home party and the Yesh Atid party. The two parties pushed Shas into the opposition earlier in the year and paved the way for a new universal draft bill from which the ultra-Orthodox, among them Yosef’s followers, are no longer exempt.
“We are all the sons of one man,” Ben Dahan, an Orthodox rabbi, said to Yosef’s sons, quoting from Genesis. “There are differences in opinion but we are all brothers. We must remember this and, God willing, carry on together for the sake of the Torah of Israel.”
Ben Dahan’s peers from the Jewish Home party, Ayelet Shaked and Orit Strock, also paid a condolence visit to the Yosef family.
On Monday, Ben Dahan was also reportedly verbally assaulted at Yosef’s funeral.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was confronted by Yosef’s sons when he paid a condolence call on Tuesday. They urged him to cancel the draft bill, and said this was their late father’s dying wish.