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Abbas: Palestinians are sorry for the death of controversial Jewish rabbi

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his condolences on Monday to the family of extremist Jewish Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, founder of the rightwing Shas party.


Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Abbas' condolences were expressed during his meeting with 14 members of various factions in the Israeli Knesset. They were called together to lobby for the two-state solution.

Abbas reportedly said: "I met Yosef's family earlier in my office and now I am sending my condolences, as well as the condolences of my people, for his death."

Rabbi Yosef died after a long struggle with illness. He was known for his hateful views against Palestinians and Arabs. In 2001, he called for exterminating the "cursed evil spirits," referring to Palestinians.

That same year he told his followers: "It is forbidden to be merciful to them [Arabs]. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable."

In one of his sermons, he prayed for God to destroy Arabs without mercy because, in his view, they are all cockroaches that need to be killed.

In a speech delivered in 2004, Rabbi Yosef demanded the necessity of murdering Muslims, for they are as dangerous as snakes and worms.

His latest hateful remarks against Palestinians were in 2010, when Rabbi Yosef said in a Saturday sermon: "Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this world."

When Israeli killed around 1,500 Palestinians during the 2008-2009 War against Gaza, he remarked: "May God strike them [the Palestinians in Gaza] down with the plague along with all the nasty Palestinians who persecute Israel."

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