Former Chief Rabbi Yonah Yechiel Metzger commented on the bill sponsored by Ministers Naftali Bennett and Tzipi Livni seeking to set a new standard of one chief rabbi of Israel. Rabbi Metzger stated “It’s a deception to win over the people to divide the nation.”
Rabbi Metzger explains that in actuality, there is only one chief rabbi but the title is double, explaining that if the bill is passed into law there will only be one chief rabbi but there will be another post of av beis din of the Chief Rabbinate Supreme Court, hence to different people, calling the bill “a scam”. Rabbi Metzger explains there will still be a need for two individuals, two salaries, two offices and satffs so in essence, the bill is deceptive at best.
“So they will strip one of the title chief rabbi, so what” Rabbi Metzger stated, adding that when he was serving MKs approached him with the same idea and he explained the exact same thing to them, bringing them to the realization that one will have the chief rabbi title and the second person will not but two people are required.
“In the event that one chief rabbi is elected, Ashkenazi or Sephardi the other ethnicity will feel discriminated against and may start an alternative rabbinate. Why is it necessary to divide the people when it is possible to unite with two titles” questions Rabbi Metzger.
The former chief rabbi added “The bill is contrary to the wishes of Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZT”L, explaining when he was serving as the chief rabbi of a city Rav Ovadia fought with all his might to see to it there were two rabbonim in all cities, fearing piskei Halacha may only take one ethnicity into account if this was not the case.
“It’s all semantics and there is no difference from the existing situation and the bill other than removing the title” the rav concluded.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)