(JTA) – Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, a prominent American-Israeli Orthodox rabbi, compared U.S. President Barack Obama to Haman, the villain of the Purim story.
Riskin, the longtime chief rabbi of Efrat, a West Bank settlement in the Gush Etzion bloc, made the comparison during a speech at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“The president of the United States is lashing out at Israel just like Haman lashed out at the Jews,” he said. “I’m not making a political statement. I’m making a Jewish statement.”
Riskin also compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Mordechai, who along with niece Esther is the hero of the Purim story.
The crowd booed an audience member who shouted that Riskin was being disrespectful to Obama.
“I am being disrespectful because the president of the United States was disrespectful to my prime minister, to my country, to my future and to the future of the world,” Riskin said.
Riskin led the Lincoln Square Synagogue, a modern Orthodox congregation on the Upper West Side of New York, for 20 years before making aliyah in 1983.