The campaign by Tzohar chairman Rabbi David Stav for the position of Ashkenazi
chief rabbi gained another important endorsement on Sunday with the Yesh Atid
party declaring its support for his candidacy.
MK Rabbi Shai Piron, who
was No. 2 on the Yesh Atid electoral list, issued a statement declaring his
party’s support for Stav, saying that it was important that the incoming chief
rabbi should be “someone who has served in the IDF, whose children have served
in the IDF and is a model for Torah scholarship and involvement in Israeli
On Thursday, Yisrael Beytenu also announced that it would
support Stav’s candidacy.
Tzohar, a national religious association of
rabbis led by Stav, has sought in recent years to provide an alternative to the
Chief Rabbinate in the provision of marriage services and other religious
The organization has frequently claimed that the Chief
Rabbinate’s approach to religious services has not been appropriate for the
needs of the general public, a stance that has upset the generally haredi
religious establishment that has controlled the rabbinate and the Religious
Services Ministry (and its predecessor the Religious Affairs Ministry) in recent
The election for the new Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis is
slated for June.
A 150-member panel including municipal chief rabbis,
city mayors, MKs and government ministers will vote in a secret ballot to elect
the two new chief rabbis.
The national-religious Bayit Yehudi party has
set up an internal panel to decide which of the main nationalreligious
candidates for the Chief Rabbinate it will support, although it is not expected
to make the decision until after the formation of a new government.
other national-religious figures, Rabbi Eliezer Igra, a rabbinical judge on the
Supreme Rabbinical Court, and Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, dean of the prestigious
Merkaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem, are both considering running for the