The upcoming election of new chief rabbis of Yerushalayim, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, is a source of tension in all communities, chareidi, dati leumi and secular. The dati leumi and secular communities are more-or-less in tune with one another, both determined to prevent a ‘chareidi take-over’ of the capital, with the dati leumi camp comfortable with the knowledge that City Hall will support its candidate, as per the pre-election agreement that resulted in the dati leumi camp’s support for Nir Barkat’s mayoral bid.
A dati leumi kenos is scheduled to take place on Sunday to address the election with the realization a candidate must be selected. The event will be hosted in a hall in Jerusalem City Hall, and Mayor Nir Barkat is expected to be in attendance.
At present, the candidate for Sephardi chief rabbi appears to be secured, in the hands of HaGaon HaRav Y. Yosef but the Ashkenazi post is still undecided, with a number of chareidi candidates as well as rabbonim affiliated with the dati leumi camp.
The upcoming election comes amid growing tensions in a number of neighborhoods, including N’vei Yaakov, Kiryat Yovel and Ramat Eshkol, areas in which there are noticeably growing chareidi communities, a reality that has some secular residents concerned and determined to prevent the chareidi take-over of these areas. This is also expected to boost the dati leumi position, portrayed as moderate and in the eyes of some, as anti-chareidi, more favorable and less threatening than a chareidi chief rabbi.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)