As expected, the elections to the Chief Rabbinate council that took placed on
Thursday saw the 10 incumbent members reelected in line with a deal worked out
between Bayit Yehudi, United Torah Judaism, Shas and the two chief
There are 16 members of the council, six of those are granted an
automatic spot, including the two chief rabbis, the chief municipal rabbis of
Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba, and the IDF’s chief rabbi. The elections are held
every five years.
The deal was agreed upon to avoid the controversy and
political machinations that characterized the recent election of the chief
rabbis. The different parties instructed their loyalists on the 150-member
electoral committee that elects the chief rabbis to vote for the
Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weisz, the chief rabbi of the Emek Hefer
region, objected to this maneuver, however, and decided to stand for election
despite the deal. He was one of three candidate who were not already members of
None of the three succeeded in getting elected.
said that political deals were not appropriate in designating rabbinical
“A rabbi should be elected, not appointed by deals made
between political parties,” said the Manchester-born rabbi who was ultimately
not elected to the council.
Weisz was able to garner 78 votes,
demonstrating that a significant number on the committee did not heed the terms
of the deal.
Weisz said that he had been offered observer status on the
panel but rejected the proposal.
Rabbi Yosef Glicksberg, the chief rabbi
of Givatayim who was reelected, remarked that the previous elections had been
open to competition and so there was no reason to doubt the credentials of any
of the incumbent members of the council.
The Chief Rabbinate council is a
central body to Jewish life in Israel and makes decisions on Jewish law
regarding marriage, marriage registration, burial and kashrut.