The Committee for Appointing Rabbinical Judges on Tuesday chose Rabbi Shlomo Dichovsky as director of the Rabbinic Courts for four years.

Dichovsky, who retired from the Supreme Rabbinic Court two years ago, is a haredi rabbinic judge who is considered relatively open-minded and progressive, a combination that enabled the haredi and national-religious members of the committee to agree on his appointment.

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Since August of last year, Dichovsky had been temporarily filling the position, after predecessor Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan was forced to step down after serving in that capacity for 20 years, because new government regulations set time limits on the tenure of public officials.

Committee member Otniel Schneller (Kadima) called Dichovsky “an asset, in his ability to be a bridge between the world of Halacha, without budging from it, and the general public in need of halachic rulings. Dichovsky’s rulings are a highly important bonding element keeping us together as one Jewish state.”

The liberal modern Orthodox Ne’emanei Torah Ve’avoda group praised the choice.

“The willingness of Israel’s senior rabbinic judge Dichovsky to deal with the [inner workings] of the rabbinic courts will improve their status and functioning. Such a scholar will undoubtedly not err.”

Attorney Batya Kahana- Dror, director of the Mavoi Satum organization, which works for the rights of women who have been refused divorces by their husbands, said, “in his 22 years as rabbinic judge, Dichovsky acknowledged the suffering of women refused a Jewish divorce, and did not hesitate to force recalcitrant husbands to give a get [Jewish divorce]. We hope his methods and way will set the tone in the rabbinic courts and lead them to a moderate path that is appropriate to Israeli society.”

Another issue awaiting the committee’s decision is the appointment of three rabbinic judges to the Supreme Rabbinic Court. The 10 committee members, six haredi and four national-religious, have time and again failed to agree on the identity of the judges, and no resolutions were reached in Tuesday’s meeting.

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