Influential Israeli rabbi released from hospital

Updated at: 01/13/2013 5:07 AM
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(AP) JERUSALEM - An Israeli religious party says its powerful spiritual leader has been released from hospital after a minor stroke, easing concerns his health could affect the party’s fortunes ahead of Jan. 22 elections.

Yakov Betzalel, who is spokesman for the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, 92, was at home with his family and would resume his daily routine later Sunday.

Yosef was taken to hospital on Saturday after collapsing during morning prayers.

The Baghdad-born religious scholar commands supreme influence in his party, which holds 10 of parliament’s 120 seats and represents Jews of Middle Eastern descent.

Outside his party, the rabbi, with his trademark turban, gold-embroidered robes and dark glasses, has been a controversial figure, making incendiary comments on Palestinians, secular Jews, Holocaust survivors and gays.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)