Saturday, November 13, 2004

Maran: The Life of R. Ovadiah Yosef

I'm almost finished reading a new biography of Rav Ovadiah Yosef by Nitzan Hen and Anshel Feffer. The authors are journalists, but despite that fact, the book is remarkably good. The presentation is coherent and respectful (though not obsequious). It places Rav Ovadiah's life in its proper social and historical context. The authors are very weak in matters halakhic and alot of what they say about his legal writings (and even his public pronouncements) is somewhat skewered because they don't know how to interpret rabbinic parlance. Still, it's a fun read and I strongly recommend it (as did the reviewer in HaZofe this Friday).

There is one point that I really disagreed with, howeverׄ The authors credit Shas' jum from six to ten Knesset seats in the 1996 elections solely to the famous amulet campaign centered on Rav Kaduri. This, in my opinion, is way off the mark. The massive rise in Shas' representation was paralleled by similar rises in strength in Mafdal and Aguda/Degel HaTorah. I am convinced, as were others like Daniel Ben Simon, that the run to the religious parties was a result of the virulently anti-religious, anti-semitic campign that was waged by th Left (especially Meretz). It was the first hint of the process of re-judaization that has continued over the last eight years.

1 comment:

Lonely Man of Mechqar said...

Another possible explanation is the fact that in 1996, voters were able to directly vote for Prime Minister, leaving their Knesset vote open for a smaller party. Look at the trend to the next Knesset election where Shinui and Meretz both did very well, basically balancing out Shas.