When the Rabbi said “plague” he meant “peace.” Duh.

(cross-posted with +972 Magazine)

I’d like to introduce what I fear will become a regular feature on this blog – the Iraqi Information Minister Award, to be given for worst political spins, as determined by greatest hubris and most brazen contradiction of the facts. Today’s indisputable winner is MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas), for trying to convince the public  a plainly stated wish of death by plague was, in fact, a prayer for peace.

The early morning headlines in Israel were preoccupied with a statement by Shas spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Yosef (a month shy of 90) gave his own peculiar blessing to the direct negotiations due to be launched this week:

“May our enemies and haters are finished, Abu Mazen and all those evil men, may they be lost from the world, may G-d strike them with the plague, them and those evil Palestinians, enemies of Israel.”

Shas, which rose to power through supporting the two-state peace process in exchange for welfare boosts and cultural autonomy for its electorate, sent out Ze’ev on the Quixotic mission of spinning a completely unspinnable comment:

“MK Nissim Ze’ev, who was present during the sermon yesterday, said this morning the media misunderstood the words of the rabbi, not out of ill design but because the rabbi spoke in the language of the Talmud.
“His intention was, may G-d finish the hostility of the evil ones against us. It’s convenient to interpret him as if we don’t want peace, but this is incorrect. The Rabbi is for negotiations for peace and for peace. The Jewish people has many haters and the Rabbi doesn’t mean to say they’ll all be destroyed, just that their hatred towards us would end.”

I think the sheer determination makes Ze’ev a winner. Please feel free to nominate candidates in the comment thread.

Update, 2 mins later – God obviously didn’t get Ze’ev’s memo:

Yeah, that’s what I wanna know.

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