There was widespread fury and backlash following the outrageous remarks of the Ombudsman of the Israeli judiciary and former Supreme Court Justice Uri Shoham on Thursday condemning HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef and questioning his “worthiness” to be a dayan.
In a letter to Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana, Shoham called on him to summon HaRav Yosef for a severe reprimand and consider removing him from his position as a dayan. He also told him to ban dayanim from participating in conferences of the Rabbanut and recommended banning HaRav Yosef from expressing his opinion about the reforms to kashrus and giyur.
Shoham’s letter was in a response to a complaint he received from the Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism about a conference of the Rabbanut during which HaRav Yosef attacked Kahana’s reforms.
“The decision of the Ombudsman to summon HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak for a hearing is a national day of mourning that will be remembered for generations,” Shas MK Michoel Malkieli said in response to the report. “This is a severe slap in the face of the entire traditional public – words that we’ve heard only in dark regimes. No one would have ever dreamed of such a thing in the Jewish state. All of Am Yisrael should come to the hearing and mourn the pain of the severe disrespect to HaRav Yosef.”
Shas MU Uriel Busso said: “There’s no limit to busha. The Ombudsman who is supposed to maintain stateliness has decided to ban the Chief Rabbi, who is the supreme halachic authority selected by law.”
Chief Rabbi HaRav Dovid Lau stated: “I outright reject the ruling of the Ombudsman, who is ignoring the rules of ethics for dayanim, according to which the Chief Rabbi’s statements on halacha are not only permissible but obligatory. This is the tafkid of the Chief Rabbi, to express the halachic opinion and fulfill the dictum of ‘not fearing any man.’
Kahana also rejected the recommendations of the Ombudsman, saying that Rabbanim must maintain freedom of speech even on issues that are within the sphere of the government.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)