In a bid to garner more support for a possible military strike on Iran's nuclear sites, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent National Security Council chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror to meet with Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef last week.
During the confidential meeting, Amidror gave Yosef an updated situational assessment of Iran's nuclear program and presented Netanyahu's position on the issue.
This was not the first time that Amidror has met with Yosef and other ultra-Orthodox leaders to brief them on national security matters.
According to a report on the Kikar Hashabat news website, Yosef's opposition to a military strike against Iran has softened following last week's meeting with Amidror. However, the report said, Yosef has yet to express his opinion and more meetings with government officials are expected on the matter. Haaretz reported that on Saturday evening, a day after his meeting with Amidror, Yosef said in his weekly sermon: "You know what situation we're in, there are evil people, Iran, about to destroy us ... We must pray before [God] with all our heart."
Amidror was accompanied by Interior Minister and Shas political leader Eli Yishai, the Kikar Hashabat website reported.
It is believed that Yishai opposes a strike on Iran that is not coordinated beforehand with the U.S.
Religious leaders are kept updated on national security matters so they can provide guidance to their representatives in the cabinet and the Knesset.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently met with the head of the Belz Hasidic sect, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach. During the closed one-on-one meeting, it is believed that classified information was presented to the rabbi.
The Belz sect's representative in the Knesset, MK Israel Eichler, has expressed concerns about military action against Iran.
The Iranian nuclear issue is particularly sensitive and Netanyahu wants to form as broad of a front as possible that favors military action in case a decision is made to strike Iran in the coming months.
A senior political source said that Amidror's meeting with Yosef was "routine."
"The Iranian issue was naturally the main topic, but other matters were discussed, such as what is happening in Egypt and Syria," the source said.
The Prime Minister's Office declined to comment on the meeting.