Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The so-called Amar bill was defeated on Wednesday afternoon, after it became
clear that Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef opposed the
Yosef instructed Shas MKs that although he would have liked
to see Amar reelected as Sephardi chief rabbi, he could not support Bayit
Yehudi’s demand that Amar back Rabbi David Stav for the position of Ashkenazi
Haredi MKs then pulled various parliamentary maneuvers in
order to prevent the bill from coming to the Knesset plenum on Wednesday, even
though the Committee for the Interior had earlier approved the bill for its
The bill was reintroduced by Shas MK Avraham Michaeli,
after it was originally proposed by Bayit Yehudi MK Zvulun Kalfa, but the party
has now blocked its own bill.
It will now be extremely difficult to get
the bill through the legislative process, since the government promised the
Supreme Court that the chief rabbi electoral committee would be fully appointed
Following the appointments’ completion process to the election
committee, it will no longer be legally possible to legislate further on the
election process for the Chief Rabbinate.
This situation threatens to
bury once and for all the possibility that Amar could be elected. The law
currently prohibits a sitting chief rabbi from standing for reelection, which
the Amar bill would have changed.
In the likely event that Amar cannot
stand, the probable candidates for the position of Sephardi chief rabbi will be
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, a conservative national-religious rabbi who serves as
chief municipal rabbi of Safed, and Rabbi Avraham Yosef, the chief municipal
rabbi of Holon and son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
Meanwhile, the coalition
agreed on Wednesday, in the context of the deliberations on the Amar bill, that
out of the 20 delegates appointed by the government to the chief rabbi electoral
committee, the prime minister will select five of them and Religious Services
Minister Naftali Bennett will choose 15.
The date for the election was
also selected for July 24.