In an apparent oversight on behalf of Bayit Yehudi, the coalition agreement
between the national-religious party and Likud Beytenu may pave the way for the
reelection as chief rabbis of both Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Rabbi Yona
The national-religious movement has been chomping at the bit in
recent years to retake control of state religious institutions, such as the
Chief Rabbinate, which were formerly an exclusive sphere of influence for the
community and its leadership.
Rabbi David Stav, chairman of the
national-religious rabbinic association, has in particular embarked on a strong
campaign to get elected as Ashkenazi chief rabbi in the elections scheduled for
June this year.
But the coalition agreement between Bayit Yehudi and
Likud Beytenu stipulates that the terms of the current chief rabbis be extended
until new rabbis are elected and, additionally, that legislation be completed to
allow chief rabbis to serve more than one 10- year term. Currently a chief rabbi
may only serve one term.
The seeming mistake was likely made out of a
desire in Bayit Yehudi to garner support from Shas and Amar for a
national-religious Ashkenazi chief rabbi by allowing Amar himself to continue as
Sephardi chief rabbi.
The terms of the coalition deal as it was agreed,
however, would not prevent Metzger for standing again for the Ashkenazi
It is unclear whether Bayit Yehudi would be able to stymie these
two pieces of legislation, and the concern for the party is that Likud, because
of its close ties and former political alliance with Shas and United Torah
Judaism, will insist that coalition discipline be applied on this matter to pass
both bills as a way of placating the haredi parties for their exclusion from the
This would represent a major setback for the
nationalreligious movement’s attempts at reforming the state religious
establishment in its own image.