Israeli Sephardi leader says non-Jews exist to serve Jews

Israeli Sephardic leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in his weekly Saturday night sermon  on Oct. 16 said that non-Jews exist to serve Jews.

“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the people of Israel,” he said during a public discussion of what kind of work non-Jews are allowed to perform on Shabbat.

“Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi [lord and master] and eat,” he said to some laughter.

Yosef, who recently turned 90, is the spiritual leader of the Shas Party and the former chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel. He also said that the lives of non-Jews are protected in order to prevent financial loss to Jews.

An audio recording of some of the rabbi’s remarks was broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10.

The American Jewish Committee condemned the rabbi’s remarks in a statement issued Oct. 18, calling them “outrageous … abhorrent and an offense to human dignity and human equality.” — jta