Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received strong backing for the Gilad Schalit deal Tuesday night from Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
The rabbi was one of the first Israelis briefed about the deal when Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited him on Sunday.
Yosef hosted Schalit’s father Noam in a meeting Tuesday night that was described as emotional.
“We believe there will be a majority,” Shas chairman Eli Yishai said. “This is good news for all the people of Israel. It’s important to the rabbi, who strongly supports it. He asked the ministers to fulfill the commandment to redeem captives by voting for the deal.”
Rabbi Yosef, a great Halachik scholar, is a strong supporter of a peaceful two state solution, arguing that the Israeli-Palestinain conflict takes lives, and is therefore categorized as Pikuach Nefesh, or danger of life. Hence, it is appropriate to make lengthy concessions as long as they result in peace. For that reason, he strongly condemned the intifada that followed the Oslo Accords, and the unilateral disengagement from Gaza.
With Rabbi Yosef's blessing, many can be somewhat more assured that the released terrorists will not be able to significantly (or at all) harm Israelis. But again, time will tell.