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Rabbinate council members reelected
October 11, 2013 00:23
10 incumbent members reelected in line with a deal worked out between Bayit Yehudi, United Torah Judaism, Shas and the two chief rabbis.
Jerusalem Chief Rabbinate

Jerusalem chief rabbinate 311. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem)

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 rabbis.

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.

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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 incumbents.

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 the council.

None of the three succeeded in getting elected.

Weisz said that political deals were not appropriate in designating rabbinical leadership.

“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.
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