Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is calling on members of the 48 strong voting body not to cast a ballot for Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Shlita, who hopes to become the next Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Yerushalayim. According to a Channel 2 News report, Livni is working to sabotage Rabbi Eliyahu’s election bid.
She was preceded by former ISA (Israel Security Agency – Shin Bet) Director Yuval Diskin. Both feel that Rabbi Eliyahu’s public remarks against renting and selling homes in Tzfas to Arabs label him racist and unsuited for the post. Rabbi Eliyahu currently serves as Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Tzfas and in the past he has openly opposed selling or renting Jewish properties to Arabs, explaining the latter are seeking to overrun the city’s Jewish population.
Livni and Diskin feel the rabbi’s views are too radical to unite Yerushalayim, but he will further divide the city. They fear if elected he will stir the already fragile situation in the city and will provide Islamic extremists with additional fuel in their battle to encourage extremism in the community.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)