Likud-Yisrael Beytenu MK Moshe Feiglin has proposed a bill in Knesset that would abolish the election of both an Ashkenazi and a Sephardi chief rabbi and create instead a single, non-ethnic chief rabbi position.
According to Feiglin, the majority of MKs with whom he has spoken on the issue have responded enthusiastically to the proposal, with Yesh Atid MK Rabbi Dov Lipman the first to sign on to the bill.
“The division between the different communities of the Jewish people is the result of thousands of years of exile, in which the nation preserved the Torah and its faith in an amazing way,” reads the bill, the text of which Feiglin published on his Facebook page on Thursday.
“Now that the Jewish people has returned to its land, our goal is to act to unite the nation and to return the Torah to its glory so that there will not be ‘two Torahs,’” it says.
Feiglin explains in his introduction to the bill that the intention is not to erase the customs of the past, but to form a foundation for unity for the future.
“Perpetuating the differences between the various ethnic groups [by having] government positions for each of the different communities is not commensurate with the evolving reality,” he says.
The new law would see the election of just one chief rabbi, who would head the Chief Rabbinical Council. The legislation would also entail electing a president for the Supreme Rabbinical Court – a position that the Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis currently share – who would head up the national rabbinical court system.
“By amending this law, we would enable the rabbinical world to be partners in the revolution that the Jewish people is experiencing in having returned from exile and an existence of being separate communities... to a status of being one nation,” Feiglin declared in the post.