Israeli Shas party rabbi released from hospital

JERUSALEM Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:11am EST

Passengers ride a bus with a Shas campaign advertisement, depicting the party's spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (bottom), and with a reflection on the window of a campaign poster depicting Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Passengers ride a bus with a Shas campaign advertisement, depicting the party's spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (bottom), and with a reflection on the window of a campaign poster depicting Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv January 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A 92-year-old Israeli rabbi who serves as the spiritual head of a powerful ultra-Orthodox political party was released from hospital on Sunday after treatment for a suspected minor stroke.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who has largely set the terms under which his Shas party has agreed to join a succession of governments, was taken to Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital by ambulance on Saturday after feeling weak during sabbath prayers.

A hospital spokesman said Yosef was in stable condition. He was released and ordered to rest at home.

Shas draws support from the fast-growing community of religious Jews of Middle Eastern origin. The party is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition and is expected to remain a partner after a January 22 election he is forecast to win.

The Iraqi-born Yosef, a former chief rabbi of Israel, made headlines last summer when he called for prayers for Iran's destruction at time when speculation was high that Israel might attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; editing by Andrew Roche)

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