Shas may be in opposition but Eli Yishai has not lost his ability to cut a deal that benefits party interests.
Shas will receive the backing of coalition parties for Rishon L’Tzion HaGaon Harav Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlita to serve an additional term. In return, Shas will support a dati leumi candidate for the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi post.
Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs (Bayit Yehudi) Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan on Tuesday, 8 Nissan 5773 announced the bill to extend the term of the current chief rabbis until the election, an additional four months. During the four months, the coalition will work to pass the bill to permit the chief rabbis to serve a second 10-year term, the so-called “Amar Bill”.
Bayit Yehudi decided to work with Shas after party members realized there are many Shas loyalists among those who vote for the new chief rabbis. The dati leumi party realized it would be most difficult to get a dati leumi rav without Shas backing. The way things appear at present, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Yechiel Metzger will not seek a second term.
Yesh Atid and The Movement have already announced they will support Tzohar Rabbonim leader Rabbi David Stav for the post. Bayit Yehudi is in a bit of a quandary since leading dati leumi rabbonim announced their candidate is Rabbi Eliezer Igra, a dayan serving on the Chief Rabbinate Supreme Court. Bennett and other party officials appear more aligned with Stav and a decision on who to back will be among the decisions that must be made in the coming weeks.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)