Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received on Monday in Ramallah a group of Israeli rabbis including Adina Bar-Shalom, the eldest daughter of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, in a rare meeting at a time when negotiations between Israel and the PA are at a virtual standstill.
The meeting between Abbas and Yosef was especially charged in light of the fact that in 2010, her father was quoted as saying: “May all the nasty people who hate Israel, such as Abbas, vanish from our world. May God strike them down with the plague along with all the nasty Palestinians who persecute Israel.”
Bar-Shalom is the respected founder of a pioneering college for ultra-Orthodox women.
The atmosphere was cordial, however, with Abbas expressing a wish that war between Israel and Iran will be averted, and noting that “the killing of innocents is wrong and prohibited by our religions.”
Abbas said he wished no harm to Israel. “Israel is here to stay, no matter what certain extremists say,” he maintained, and, referring to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, added: “It is not that there is one state too many in the region; rather that there is one state too few.”
Also present at the meeting were Rabbi Menachem Froman, the chief rabbi of the settlement of Tekoa; former MK Rabbi Michael Melchior; and the head of the Eretz Shalom organization, Nachum Pechenik.
Froman condemned the recent firebombing attack on a Palestinian taxi in which six people were injured.
At the end of the meeting, Abbas asked to send his regards to Yosef, expressing hope to one day meet with the rabbi.