Chief Rabbinate Elections – Deri Camp Opposes R’ Amar?


With the elections for Israel’s chief rabbis about ten months away the electioneering surrounding the positions is in full swing. Readers should realize that while there are political parties and rabbonim endorsing candidates for Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis, the voting base consists of the 120 members of Knesset, Jews and non-Jews alike. So Ahmed Tibi and the other 119 MKs will determine who will be the next chief rabbis of Israel.

According to a Maariv report appearing over the weekend filed by Chaim Gridinger, Rabbi Yehuda Deri, chief rabbi of Beersheva is planning to put his name in the race for Sephardi chief rabbi. The latter happens to be a brother of Rav Aryeh Deri, the former Shas party leader.

In the interim, while current Sephardi chief rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlita has stated he does not wish to run for reelection for another 10 year term, but his supporters are pushing a law that would permit such a reality. Maariv quotes persons close to Deri as saying that Aryeh Deri is working behind the scenes to prevent the law from passing, thereby taking Rav Amar out of the race.

There are conflicting reports as to Aryeh Deri’s role, with some insisting he is not involving himself. Others state that he is pushing his agenda, which in this case is the election of a brother to the senior rabbinical post.

Kikar Shabbat adds that if the law is defeated and Rav Amar cannot serve a second term, then Rav Yehuda Deri is viewed as a top contender since he is also very close to Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita. Rav Amar is also extremely close to the gadol hador and is viewed by many as the successor to Rav Ovadia.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. Why is it surprising that the kenesset does the selecting? The “chief rabbi” is a government employee, tasked with keeping the Orthodox in line, largely through handing out patronage, and issue rulings that support the government. While some frum people have tried to “co-opt” the position and use it promote yiddishkeit, it remain closer to the position of a “rabbi” appointed by the czarist government to move the Jews in a desired direction, than to a “rav” in the sense one finds in America (or within Israel among communities that pick their own leadership)

  2. Akuperma, the Knesset doesn’t do the selecting. The Chief Rabbis are elected by a 150-member electoral college, to which the Knesset only sends five delegates.