The Chief Rabbinate Council Elections


vote2.jpgIn essence, Tuesday’s election for the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Rabbinical Council was an election for the Chief Rabbinate’s government. The election also provides a glimpse at the political realities, the political complexities, and the deal-making that govern the nation’s highest rabbinical body.

The body is responsible for setting the rules and regulations for marriage, kashrut and a number of other fundamental religious issues.

In short, the big winner was Shas and the big loser was the Ashkenazim, with Rav Elyashiv Shlita refusing to continue with the regular understanding with Shas, as was the case in previous years, resulting in Shas moving to sign with the National Religious Party, which also emerged with a smile, seating a number of its top candidates on the council.

The Rav Elyashiv camp refused to ‘go with Shas’ since it would not support Rav Avraham Yosef due to his lenient position regarding heter mechira. As a result, Shas moved to a union with NRP, and at the end of the day, Rav Avraham Yosef Shlita, a noted Torah scholar, did indeed earn on seat on the council, enjoying widespread support.

Two rabbonim affiliated with Rav Elyashiv lost their seats in the race. NRP happily learned that four of its candidates were elected. NRP MK Nissan Slomianski stated that now, the Chief Rabbinate Council will reflect a more “nationalistic policy”.

The council has seven permanent members, which includes the two chief rabbis, the IDF chief rabbi, and the rabbis of the major cities, Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. The other ten members are divided in half, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, elected to serve a five-year term. The election was held in the Chief Rabbinate in Yerushalayim, and 144 of the 150 eligible participants did indeed cast their ballots.

The election was a mehadrin political event, nothing less, and anyone following the weeks preceding yesterday’s election could witness major deal-making on behalf of some the nation’s most notable rabbonim.

The big winners on the Ashkenazi Zionist list were Rav Shmuel Eliyahu Shlita (Tzfas, aligned with the NRP), Rabbi Ratzon Aruzi Shlita (Kiryat Ono, NRP), Rabbi Yosef Glicksburg Shlita (Givatayim, NRP), and Rabbi Yaakov Shapira Shlita (Rosh Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, NRP).  Another major NRP candidate, Rabbi David Stav of Rabbanei Tzohar only made the sixth place and therefore does not get a seat.

In actuality, NRP was the big winner of the inability of the Rav Elyashiv camp and Shas to reach an agreement.

Rabbi Moshe Ruchberger Shlita and Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook Shlita (Rechovot) lost their seats.

Also elected was Rabbi Shimon Elitov Shlita, the rav of the Benjamin Regional Council of Shomron, who is affiliated with Chabad. He received 117 votes. Shas also succeeded in seating Rabbi Yitzchak Peretz Shlita, the chief rabbi of Ra’anana and a former head of the Shas Party.

Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman Shlita, chief rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek was elected on the Ashkenazi list, as were Rabbi Yaakov Roza Shlita, chief rabbi of Zaka and Rabbi Yitzchak Ralbag Shlita.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


  1. Since in Israel the majority of people are sefradim, seems that justice has prevailed with Shas smiling. Also we are the NATION of Israel in the state of Israel, so rabbis who are ‘NATION’istic are needed to lead the flock. All in all, sounds like good news.
    Moshiach will have arrived before the next shmittah year, so who cares who observes which way or the other….