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The Supreme Court is "warped" and God will punish it for its rulings, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said recently in response to its decision to sentence former minister Shlomo Benizri to four years in prison for taking bribes.

Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party to which Benizri belongs, made the remarks on a tape that will be played tonight at a rally in support of Benizri, who will soon start serving his sentence. The full tape was posted Tuesday night on the Web site "Haredim."

"House of Israel, harken!" Ovadia said on the tape. "We are deeply pained by the unjust judgment that was handed down to our friend, a man of great activity who has worked all his life to disseminate Torah and to exalt it, whose entire mind is Torah, whose entire mind is fear of heaven, whose entire mind is loving-kindness toward the people of Israel - and they have judged him as they judged him. Woe to us that we have a warped court like this, so warped. They have neither wisdom nor judgment; they believe in nothing," he said.

"Rather, they are heretics. How can the Holy One, blessed be He, be found in their company? What business does a priest [who under Jewish law must not come into contact with the dead] have in a cemetery?"