Ovadia Yosef (Hebrew: עובדיה יוסף; Arabic: عبد الله يوسف ‘Abdullah Youssef) (September 24, 1920 – October 7, 2013) was a Talmudic scholar, an authority on Jewish religious law (halakha), and the longtime spiritual leader of Israel's ultra-orthodox Shas party. Born in Iraq, he was the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1973 to 1983. Yosef's responsa were highly regarded within Haredi circles, particularly among Mizrahi communities, among whom he was regarded as "the most important living halakhic authority."
Yosef became a notable figure in Israel’s politics after founding the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party in 1984. He later took a less active role in party politics but remained the party's spiritual leader until his death. Shas champions the interests of Jews, especially religious Jews, originating from North Africa and the Middle East.
On occasion, Yosef made statements relating to various groups and individuals which were deemed controversial by his critics. In response, supporters of Yosef claimed he was misquoted or his words taken out of context.