Rabbi Shlomo HaKohen Aviner Shlita, a prominent posek in the dati leumi community, has come out in support of Rabbi Shlomo Amar to become the next Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim, but not for the reason most believe.
Rabbi Aviner spoke with Moti Lavi of Kol Berama Radio on Monday morning 26 Tishrei. He explained that he backs Rabbi Aryeh Stern Shlita for the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi post because he knows the rav well and that he is a talmid chacham who is more than worthy to serve in the post. Rabbi Aviner made a point of adding “I am not familiar with any of the other candidates and therefore I do not say anything about them and not chas v’sholom anything bad”.
For the post of Chief Sephardi Rabbi Rav Aviner explained he believes that backing Rabbi Amar is a sort of a tikun. He explained “While he have Medinat Yisrael not everything is perfect and the law that compels chief rabbis to step down is wrong and contrary to halacha. This is what occurred regarding Rav Amar as Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel and voting for him in the Jerusalem race is the best we can do to correct that wrong”.
When Lavi pointed out that Rav Amar and others were forces to step down because of Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Rav Aviner explained “This is not so. This is the law. Rabbi Ben-Dahan is a tzaddik and does holy work”.
In actuality, while Rabbi Amar was forced to step down because the Chief Rabbi of Israel term is for ten years, Rabbi Ben-Dahan has indeed compelled other rabbonim around Israel to step down. The law compelling them to retire has been in place for many years but Rabbi Ben-Dahan is the first to enforce it. One such recent example is Rabbi Mordechai Ashkenazi Shlita, mora d’asra of Kfar Chabad who was informed he cannot continue in his post because of his age. http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/258921/ministry-of-religious-services-dismisses-rav-ashkenazi-shlita.html
Kfar Chabad officials have rejected the ministry’s directive, announcing their mora d’asra will continue in his post until such time he decides to step down, even if the state does not pay him.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)