There is disagreement in Jerusalem as to possibly extending the term of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern Shlita, as he reaches retirement age before election for the 23rd Knesset on March 2, 2019. Some feel the appointment of his replacement should be placed on hold until there is a new government, which appears agreeable to all.
However, Minister of Religious Services (Shas) Yitzchak Vaknin stated there would be no special dispensation for a single individual, this case, HaGaon Rav Stern, who is affiliated with the dati leumi tzibur.
It one attempts to be objective, Rav Stern during his tenure did a great deal in many areas, perhaps most widely known, cracking down on the city’s ailing corrupt kashrus operation along with other religious services. He is also regarded as a talmid chacham and posek, who conducts himself with kovod towards one and all.
Those close to the rav explain that anyone who knows him knows he is 100% apolitical, and he spent his life in a beis medrash, where he hopes to return after his tenure ends. It is also known that he has not always seen eye-to-eye with the Sephardi Chief Rabbi, HaRav Shlomo Moshe Amar, who maintains strained but close relations with Shas.
Unfortunately, there is an ongoing hostility between the dati leumi and chareidi parties, as well as between the ashkenazi and sephardi chareidi parties.
On a national level, just this week Defense Minister Naftali Bennet of the New Right party announced one of his party’s demands for entering a coalition government will be control over religious services, which has already been met with Shas officials raising their antennas. Bennet envisions taking control of the Chief Rabbinate, as well as amending giyur, kashrus and other services under the control of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)