Israel - Possible Abbas-Rabbi Yosef Meeting in the Works
Israel - Shas spokesman said rabbi could have interfaith dialogue with Abbas if he took key steps; Kadima MK wants faction to meet Palestinian leader.
Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who recently called Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas “a snake” could soon end up meeting with him.
The potential meeting is the initiative of Yosef’s attorney and confidant, David Glass, who was part of a delegation of more than 60 left-wing activists who met with Abbas over lunch on Sunday at the Mukata compound in Ramallah. Glass spoke to Palestinian officials Yasser Abbed-Rabbo and Saeb Erekat after the lunch about organizing the meeting.
Glass suggested that at a time when direct talks are not taking place between Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the political level, this could be a time for religious figures to get involved.
“There might be those who are close to the rabbi who would oppose such a meeting, but he usually takes my advice,” Glass said.
A Shas spokesman responded that the rabbi had issued a formal ruling that “there currently is not a Palestinian partner for peace,” but he said “Yosef could change his mind if Abbas took key steps and then there could be room for interfaith dialogue between the rabbi and Abbas.” Meanwhile, Kadima MK Shlomo Molla, who also participated in the lunch, proposed to his party head Tzipi Livni that the entire Knesset faction meet with Abbas.
Livni, who has come out repeatedly against the offer that her predecessor at the helm of Kadima, Ehud Olmert, made to Abbas, told Molla that she would have no problem with Kadima MKs meeting with Abbas but that she personally did not want to, because she did not want to be seen as undermining Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on diplomatic issues.
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