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The spiritual leader of Shas, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has called for the prayer for the well-being of IDF soldiers to be said not only on Shabbat, but also on Mondays and Thursdays, days during which the Torah is read during the morning service.

"Our soldiers, the Israel Defense Forces, contribute themselves selflessly, enter the lion's den... how they need to be blessed. Had it not been for them, would we have time to study the Torah? To turn to the books?" he said on Saturday night during his weekly sermon in Jerusalem.

A prayer for the safety of IDF soldiers has never been accepted by all ultra-Orthodox factions, but Yosef broke the Haredi taboo on this several years ago. During his address on Saturday, in light of the IDF operations in the Strip, he went further. "It is not enough [to say the prayer only on Shabbat]. We need to say the prayer on Monday and Thursday too, and pray for them, so that God can save them from any trouble and difficulty, so they can return to their homes for a good life and peace".

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