The Murky Political Realities Surrounding Election Of A New Chief Rabbi Of Tiveria

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In a week or so on Monday, the members of the Tiveria constituency are expected to choose the new rabbi of the northern city, but it is very possible that the elections will be postponed due to a petition filed by the Supreme Court against the decision of the Knesset Election Committee on Monday.

Members of the voter’s body approached the Elections Committee with a request to appoint Rabbi Shlomo Didi, who is considered a leading candidate for the position due to his Torah strength in Tiveria. In addition, more than fifteen hundred residents of the city signed a petition to appoint Rabbi Didi to the post.

A legal cloud hung over Rabbi Didi’s candidacy and it is questioned if he qualifies to run since he is not certified as a city rabbi. His lawyers argued that since he serves as a local religious council rav with the approval of the Chief Rabbinate, this is a position that requires qualifications as a city rabbi and therefore, the rabbi is qualified.

However, the decision was made to invalidate the rabbi’s candidacy. The Elections Committee convened and accepted the opinion of the Chief Rabbinate’s legal advisor, who determined that Rabbi Didi could not take on the position.

Rabbi Chizkiyahu Samin, the coordinator of the Elections Committee, sent a letter to Rabbi Didi in which he wrote to him that “following the letters of last night, I hereby inform you that the Elections Committee, having completed its meeting, accepted the reasons given by Chief Rabbinate Attorney Harel Goldberg.

“Following the receipt of the reasons, the committee held a vote in a round of signatures and decided as follows:” In view of the letter of the Chief Rabbinical Counsel, Attorney Harel Goldberg, and in view of the position of the Chief Rabbinate that Rabbi Shlomo Didi should not be recognized as having a certificate of qualifications, the Committee decides that his candidacy cannot be approved Of Rabbi Shlomo Didi to serve as rabbi of the city of Tiberias.'”

Immediately following the decision, Tiveria city council member Raphael Trabelsi submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice through attorney Ashi Dell against the Elections Committee. It should be noted that if Rabbi Didi’s candidacy is also disqualified in the High Court of Justice, the candidacy of Rabbi Buchbut is considered to be the most likely since he is supported by Shas and the Council of Sages. It should be noted that at first the Rishon L’Tzion, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef objected to his election by claiming that he did not mention his father in his books, but in the end, he announced that he would support him for the position.

Council member Raphael Trabelsi said in response to the decision that “this is a well-known decision that only strengthened my claims in the High Court of Justice’s suit filed yesterday by Attorney Ashi Dell, claiming the election committee is tainted, politically connected.

This decision against Rabbi Didi reinforces those who petitioned the High Court of Justice to dissolve the Elections Committee.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)