MK Muallem endorses Stav for Ashkenazi chief rabbi

Bayit Hayehudi lawmaker becomes second faction member to declare support for Stav.

May 31, 2013 01:51
2 minute read.
Bayit Yehudi MK Shuli Muallem on Temple Mount, April 30, 2013.

Shuli Muallem on Temple Mount 370. (photo credit: Shmulik Vilam)

MK Shuli Muallem (Bayit Yehudi) declared her support for Rabbi David Stav on Thursday for the upcoming Chief Rabbinate elections, becoming the second faction member of Bayit Yehudi to publicly back a candidate to be the party’s nominee.

In addition to backing Stav for Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Muallem also gave her support for Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu for the Sephardi position.

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Earlier this week, Bayit Yehudi MK Uri Orbach issued a public statement in support of Stav, the first party member of the Knesset to do so.

Muallem wrote on her Facebook page Thursday afternoon that she had been in favor of the “Amar-Ariel” deal – designed to bring about the election of Rabbi Yaakov Ariel as Ashkenazi chief rabbi, one of the leading spiritual leaders of the national religious movement – but in light of the collapse of that proposal, she gave her support to Stav and Eliyahu.

“Both of them are fitting for the job and are fitting people to lead religion and the rabbinate in the state,” she wrote.

Referring to the political machinations of the past few months surrounding the chief rabbi elections, Muallem said that “recent times have been full of struggles, tensions, pressures, political spin and unfortunately, there was not much Kiddush Hashem that came out of these developments.”

Accompanying growing political support, Stav also received a fillip from ranks of national-religious rabbis.

An open letter signed by more than 90 rabbis, which is set to be published today, denounces the tactics of Stav’s opponents – in particular a letter to Stav calling on him to withdraw his candidacy. The letter was sent in the name of Rabbi Haim Druckman, a leading rabbinical figure in the community, but seemingly without his knowledge. It said that if Stav would not comply, it would lead to “destructive results including a complete disconnection between you and the rabbinical world.”

The rabbis open letter – which included yeshiva deans, chief municipal rabbis, and other leading figures in the community – said, “We wish to vigorously protest the use of threatening language.”

“A group of rabbis dared publish a letter threatening Rabbi David Stav, a chief municipal rabbi, a qualified rabbinical judge and formerly a yeshiva dean,” the letter read.

“This is shameful to the Torah world and to the rabbinate,” the rabbis continued and called for such tactics to be rejected.

“We call on anyone for whom the Torah and the rabbinate is dear, depart from this path, such things are not done in Israel.”

Stav’s candidacy is fiercely opposed by a group of conservative national-religious rabbis associated with the more hard line faction within Bayit Yehudi.

It is this faction that was the driving force behind efforts to seal a deal between Bayit Yehudi and Shas to secure mutual support for Rabbi Ariel and incumbent Sepahrdi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar in the coming election.

That deal collapsed earlier this week due to insurmountable legislative obstacles and a public statement from Shas chairman Arye Deri rejecting the deal.

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