There can be no doubt that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is impervious to public opinion. At a time when the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is under attack for releasing the so-called ‘blacklist’, the names of 160 rabbis from the Diaspora whose certification of the Jewishness is not recognized, the director-general of the Chief Rabbinate is seeking a raise for the Chief Rabbis.
In addition, the Chief Rabbinate is currently under fire for its ailing state kashrus, and is waging an unprecedented battle against elements trying to challenge its monopoly of religious services including Tzohar Rabbonim.
Despite all of this, MK Moshe Gafne, in his capacity as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, has been asked to approve a 25,000 NIS raise in the monthly salary for each of the Chief Rabbis. Their current salary prior to receiving a raise is 55,000 NIS monthly.
According to the report appearing in The Marker, Director-General Rabbi Yaakobi cites the high-level of professional experience the two Chief Rabbis possess, yet this is not reflected by their salaries, which is considerably less than dayanim serving in regional batei din.
Yaakobi adds, “It should be noted that the “vetek” (professional experience) was not calculated in the monthly salaries of the rabbis because the current chief rabbis did not serve as dayanim [prior to assuming their posts]. Rabbi Yosef served as the head of Yeshivat Chazon Ovadia and Rabbi Lau served as rabbi of Modi’in. If the request is accepted, it is an additional expense of NIS 800,000 annually.
At the same time, Yaakobi asked to appoint another assistant to Rabbi Yosef, explaining this is necessary because he also serves as Av Bei Din of the Chief Rabbinate Supreme Beis Din.
“The Finance Committee is asked to recognize the seniority of the Chief Rabbis, their vast experience and work in the rabbonus, kashrus, and as dayanim, and to grant them the appropriate raise to prevent this absurd situation of being sorely underpaid as compared to the dayanim they appoint”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)