Stricken Yeshiva to PM: Don't Visit, Save Us the Embarrassment

Yeshiva head Rabbi Shapira addresses his followers, calls for unity, better leadership, stronger values.

Mercaz Harav religious school passed a message to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday, telling him he is not welcome on the premises, in response to his request to visit the yeshiva following a shooting attack on Thursday that left eight students killed.

The yeshiva said that the answer is not final, but emphasized that "the wish is to save him and us the embarrassment."

Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, the head of the yeshiva, addressed his followers Sunday night, saying that "under this hollow leadership, a strong government, which reflects the real interests of the people, will arise."

"At these difficult times we must bring about the hidden strengths of the entire nation," Rabbi Shapira said, "praise and practice the torah, and establish righteous and rigorous education system for the sake of the whole public, until the ministry which is in charge of the education in this country will get to the very bottom of these strengths."

Rabbi Shapira added that "our slain brothers are calling us from this very soil. Here, in this holy place, the blood of the best of our sons was shed. May God avenge their deaths."

"When the torah is absent," Rabbi Shapira continued, "people do as they like. When, God forbid, there is no faith in our righteousness, there is no spiritual strength, and our physical strength is also deficient. This is why we are constantly on the defense. I believe, like the rest of the public, that the nation expects and yearns for a change of perception, of policy, of action. The time is ripe. We are united."