Shas officials are literally working around-the-clock ahead of this week’s election for members of the Chief Rabbinical Council of the Chief Rabbinate. It appears according to most that the five Shas-affiliated rabbonim will indeed obtain slots on the nation’s highest rabbinical council.
Shas’ biggest effort appears to ensure the election of Cholon Chief Rabbi Avraham Yosef Shlita, a son of Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlita. What is contributing to Shas’ concerns is Rav Elyashiv’s Shlita unwillingness to support rav Avraham’s candidacy, apparently as a result of his support for heter mechira during shmitah, a position held by his father, HaRav Ovadia Shlita, head of the Shas Council of Torah Sages.
This is a most relevant issue, one that broke the long-standing deal of mutual support for candidates between Shas and Degel HaTorah. HaRav Yaakov Ariel’s Shlita support for the heter also led to his disqualification for Degel support as the Ashkenazi chief rabbi, resulting in the election of Rav Yona Metzger.
Not without resources, Shas cut a deal with Merkaz HaRav and the Dati Leumi camp, and is supporting the candidacy of the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Yaakov Shapira Shlita, in exchange for the Dati Leumi support for Rav Avraham. Shas on the other hand has expressed disapproval for other Dati Leumi candidates, including Kiryat Shmona Chief Rabbi Tzfania Drori Shlita, HaRav Dovid Stav Shlita and Rav Shmuel Eliyahu Shlita (Tzfas), for reasons not being published in this forum. Shas however is willing to support another Merkaz candidate, HaRav Ratzon Arusi Shlita.
Merkaz and the Dati Leumi camp promise to support four Shas candidates in return, including Rav Avraham.
As far as the Ashkenazi candidates, Shas will be supporting HaGaon Rav Yosef Dovid Grossman Shlita (Migdal Ha’emek), Rav Shapira Shlita, and Rav Yitzchak Ralbag Shlita.
Degel will be supporting HaGaon Rav Simcha HaCohen Kook Shlita (Rechovot), Rav Grossman, HaGaonim Rav Ruchbeger, Landsman, Nesher Shlita, with the first three having a good chance of getting in, but the remainder do not appear promising.
From the National Religious Party, there are no surprises with support being expressed for HaGaonim Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Tzfania Drori, Dovid Stav, and Yaakov Shapira Shlita.
Much rides on the election in terms of political might and budgeting, as is evident in the round-the-clock deal-making process.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)