Controversy in the coalition: Degel HaTorah, the Lithuanian branch of Torah Judaism, opposes postponing the elections for the Chief Rabbinate, and party sources even threaten that they will not hesitate to vote against the move if they do not reach an agreement with them, Israel Hayom has learned. The issue is expected to be raised today (Sunday) at a meeting of coalition leaders.
Last Friday, Yishai Cohen reported on Kikar HaShabbat that Minister of Religious Affairs Michael Malkieli of Shas announced that he intends to postpone the elections for the post of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi and Sephardic Chief Rabbi, which were supposed to be held in August. According to estimates, the elections are expected to be postponed by six months.
This is a decision made by Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri. The official reason is that they do not want to hold rabbinical elections close to the municipal elections for fear of compromising the integrity of the elections and deals of supporting rabbis in exchange for support for certain mayors, since the rabbinical electoral body is composed of mayors.
Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri, Photo: Oren Ben Hakon
However, behind the scenes of the decision are considerations of internal disputes within Shas. Aryeh Deri wants to appoint his brother Yehuda Deri as Chief Rabbi and has not yet resolved the matter that Rabbi David Yosef, brother of the current Sephardic Chief Rabbi, is also interested in being appointed to the position. After the municipal elections, Deri will be able to appoint Rabbi Yosef as Rabbi of Jerusalem, thus enabling the appointment of his brother as Sephardic Chief Rabbi.
Prior to the decision, Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Deri, Ministry of Religious Affairs Director General Yehuda Avidan, his uncle Amar and Finance Minister Omer Rahamim's advisor sat together. Religious Zionism agreed to Shas wanting to postpone the elections, but the move could make it possible to pass the law extending the age of the chief rabbi so that a rabbi over the age of 70 can be appointed – a move that the Religious Zionist party is not interested in.
Wrong? We'll fix it! If you find a mistake in the article, please share with us