MK (Yesh Atid) Elazar Stern has compelled a discussion in the Knesset Interior Committee, hoping to prevent the appointment of two Chief Rabbis in Rehovot; one Ashkenazi and one Sephardi.
On motzei Shabbos, Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid attended an election rally in Rehovot in which participants favor only appointing one rabbi, not two. Dozens of political activists on erev Shabbos protested outside a local shopping center demanding the mayor reverse his decision to appoint two Chief Rabbis but to only appoint one.
Stern explains that experience has taught us that there is nothing served by appointing two chief rabbis instead of one. He feels that actually, appointing one is beneficial beyond the monetary savings; as at times, the two Chief Rabbis do not get along. He also feels appointing two rabbonim sends an unwanted message, one of “segregation and racism”.
In the original deal, HaGaon Rav Bentzion Kook, a nephew to retiring Chief Rabbi Simcha HaKohen Kook Shlita would become Ashkenazi rav and elections would be held for Sephardi rav only.
It now appears more likely that this will not occur and there will be elections for a Sephardi Chief Rabbi only, which is met with opposition by the many Ashkenazi shuls in the city.
Shas and Mayor Rachamim Malul back the candidacy of Rabbi Gideon Ben-Moshe but the Yemenite tzibur, which has a representative on the city council as well as head of the local religious council, is demanding a Yemenite rov, adding the Yemenite community represents 40% of the city’s residents.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)