It is now being reported that following a meeting with Shas leader Aryeh Deri and Chief Rabbi Moshe Shlomo Amar Shlita, Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita has signed the agreement with Bayit Yehudi after davening mincha on Monday, 4 Sivan 5773. The deal surrounds Bayit Yehudi’s commitment to support the so-called Amar bill, which will permit the Rishon L’tzion to serve a second term. In return, Shas will support a bill to lift the 70-year-old age ceiling for candidates, to permit the candidacy of Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, a dati leumi candidate for Ashkenazi chief rabbi.
However, Chacham Ovadia stipulates that Bayit Yehudi must oppose the so-called Stern Bill, which would increase the size of the voting body for the chief rabbis from 150 to 200. This would result in adding women to the voting body and dilute Shas’ control over the voting body.
As such, the pressure is now on Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, who supports the Stern Bill and signaled he planned to vote for it.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)