The One Chief Rabbi law was passed a number of months ago in its first reading. The law states that when the current Chief Rabbis of Israel end their term, only one chief rabbi will be elected in the future. Since that vote the bill has been on hold.
Kikar Shabbos reports that in a recent shiur given by Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef Shlita, the rav stated he received a promise from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the bill will be scrapped. “I meet with some officials in the government, ministers and the prime minister. When I meet with them we speak about why two chief rabbis are necessary. They explain ‘there is only one president, one prime minister so why are two rabbis necessary? One chief rabbi is sufficient’ they ask me”.
The rav explained in the shiur that he began to detail the role of the chief rabbis to the officials. “The chief rabbis are a spiritual and halachic leader for the tzibur. It is a great deal more than making an Independence Day appearance but the real job of a chief rabbi is to teach the nation Torah”. The rav adds that since taking post, he has responded to 2,000 halachic inquiries from around the world.
The rav told participants in the shiur that he explained to the prime minister that the position of Sephardi Chief Rabbi – Rishon L’Tzion preceded the state, going back 380 years and the first Rishon L’Tzion was Rabbi Moshe Galanti. Rav Yosef added that when Rav Kook arrived 90 years ago, Rav Kook told Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Yaakov Meir explaining his plan to establish a chief rabbinate with two chief rabbis and this concept was accepted.
Rav Yosef then explained that Mr. Netanyahu indicated the plan would be scrapped because he was convinced and unaware the position of Rishon L’Tzion dated so far back.
The bill passed in the Knesset in a 36-14 vote. The bill is held by the Ministerial Law Committee for second and third readings.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)