Shas taps new leader who derided Modern Orthodox

Shalom Cohen, a rabbi known for his hostility toward Modern Orthodox and secular Israeli Jews, was appointed spiritual leader of the Orthodox Sephardic Shas Party.

Cohen, leader of the Porat Yosef religious seminary, was named president of the Shas Council of Torah Sages on April 17. He replaced Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who died last year.

Shortly after being announced as Yosef’s successor, Cohen reiterated his criticism of Israeli Jews who are not haredi.

“They hate us, all the ignoramuses of the Jewish Home and Yesh Atid,” Cohen said, referencing the Zionist Orthodox party headed by Naftali Bennett and the secularist party headed by Yair Lapid, respectively. “The HaKadosh Baruch Hu [God] wants us to stay away from them. They will pursue their nonsense, we will pursue our holy Torah.”

Cohen last year called Zionist Orthodox Jews “Amalek,” a people that the Torah singles out for total annihilation for what is described as their cruelty to Jews. — jta