If you speak with former IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General (reserves) Avichai Ronsky, he will tell you that MK (Shas) Nissim Ze’ev’s new bill redefining the qualifications for the post of IDF chief rabbi are motivated by Shas’ desire to take control of the military’s top rabbinical post. Ronsky calls the bill a back door effort by Shas to gain control of the military rabbinate.
Nissim’s bill will list qualifications that include one having to certified as a dayan and/or the rav of a city to be eligible for the military top rabbinical position. Such criteria would disqualify the current IDF chief rabbi, Rabbi Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz, as well as Ronsky.
Ronsky commented that the bill is “ridiculous” and nothing more than a Shas power play to take over the military rabbinate. Ronsky feels that it is essential that the top rav comes from within the ranks of the military, one who understands the workings of the IDF as well as the language and culture.
Nissim responded to Ronsky’s criticism, explaining “there are dayanim who have served in the IDF”, adding that he will consider adding IDF service to his list of prerequisites to qualify for the chief rabbi post.
Ronsky then added that it is clear by setting the criteria of dayan and/or rav of a city that Nissim is seeking to place a chareidi rav in charge of the army, but Nissim denies this as being the case, stating there are dayanim today who are not chareidi, and have served in the IDF.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)