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Rav Ovadia Calls to Freeze Jerusalem Rabbinate Elections

According to a report on Kol Berama Radio on Monday, 9 Elul 5772, Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita has instructed Minister of Religious Services Yaakov Margi to freeze elections for the post of Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbi of Yerushalayim. According to Rivlin, the rav phoned Margi on Sunday night the eve of 9 Elul 5772 and thanked him for all his efforts towards advancing the election in Yerushalayim but instructed him to place the matter on hold at present, to freeze the election.

Speaking to host Mordechai Lavi, BaKehilla political analyst Yaakov Rivlin reported that Chacham Ovadia is seeking to halt the election, which is expected to take place on Rosh Chodesh Kislev towards avoiding machlokes with Degel HaTorah.

He explains that following the petira of Maran Rav Elyashiv ZATZAL, some Shas officials’ believed they could now move ahead with the deal that would result in the election of Rav Yitzchak Yosef as Sephardi rav and Rav Aryeh Stern as the Ashkenazi rav but the problem is Moshe Gafne and Degel object, unwilling to accept a dati leumi rav in the capital.

Kikar Shabbat however reports the story but with a different angle, explaining it ‘has learned’ the reason for freezing the election is Rav Ovadia fears the election of a dati leumi chief rabbi of Jerusalem. The report adds a number of rabbonim aligned with the dati leumi community have met with Rav Ovadia, expressing their concerns over the election of Rav Stern to the post.

“The election of Rav Stern may bring catastrophe on the Rabbanut”, the unnamed dati leumi rabbonim are quoted as telling Rav Ovadia. They explained that Rav Stern serving as Ashkenazi Rav alongside Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef as Sephardi Rav will create an “impossible situation”.

Sources close to the situation add that Rav Ovadia is not opposed to the election of a dati leumi rav for as long as the rav is supported by the consensus in the dati leumi community which does not appear to be the case here with Rav Stern. In support of this theory they explain that when Rav Ovadia was asked regarding the candidacy of Rabbi Yaakov Shapira Shlita, the rosh yeshiva of Merkaz HaRav, Rav Yosef gave his bracha.

This however did not occur for the candidacy of the talmid chacham was rejected by the dati leumi community due to Rav Shapira being “too chareidi” in character despite heading the flagship dati leumi yeshiva in Israel.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

4 Responses

  1. This seems too convoluted to be accurate.

    If this is an election, then whoever meets already established criteria can stand for election regardless of if he is eida chareidis or dati leumi or anything in between.

    If it is an appointment, and Rav Yosef is the decisor, or there is a committee, then they need to decide it – and it does no good for the deliberation to be public.

    But this, this is a mockery of elections, and if there really is only an appointment, then it should be clear to everyone, especially the more than half a million frum Jews in Yerushalayim, a plurality of whom are dati leumi and have yet to have had one of their own representing them.

  2. I really feel for our brothers at the Tadi Leumi camp, they have a real identity crises, especially since the Gush Katif tragedy. {I don’t mean as individuals, as many chareidim also are confused. I mean as a group of that ideology.]

  3. I live in Jerusalem. I haven’t noticed the absence of chief rabbis over the last however many years. Let’s just not appoint new ones and save some money.

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