Bayit Yehudi angry at failure of PM to support Stav

Despite pressure to back Stav's candidacy, Netanyahu adviser Eshel reportedly gathering support for Rabbi David Lau.

June 20, 2013 21:19
2 minute read.
Rabbi David Stav.

Rabbi David Stav370. (photo credit: Courtesy Tzohar.)

Senior figures in the Bayit Yehudi party have voiced their irritation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for failing to back Rabbi David Stav for the position of Ashkenazi chief rabbi in the upcoming elections.

Likud has not yet endorsed a candidate despite the fact that all other coalition partners have publicy backed Stav.

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Speaking to The Jerusalem Post earlier this week, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said however that he does not see the issue threatening the stability of the coalition, although he said he was unsurprised that senior Netanyahu adviser Natan Eshel is reportedly mustering support for Rabbi David Lau, another candidate for the position.

Earlier this week Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Bayit Yehudi) suggested that for Likud to back anyone other than Stav would constitute a violation of the coalition agreement.

A clause in this agreement does in fact state that representatives of the coalition parties on the 150-member electoral committee for the chief rabbi must be coordinated between Likud and Bayit Yehudi, but the extent of that stipulation is unclear.

A source close to Bennett was more forthright in objecting to Likud’s failure to endorse Stav.

“What do agreements mean to Bibi?” the Bayit Yehudi party official asked.

“It’s a principle of his not to honor agreements.”

A Likud spokeswoman said that her party interprets the coalition agreement differently and sees no violation, adding that she doubted the Likud would endorse a candidate.

However, Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely said that she believes there is a majority in the faction in support of Stav and she intends to push for a vote on the issue next week.

Stav himself addressed the issue on Thursday, when asked about the lack of support for him from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Speaking at the President’s Conference, Stav said that he believed many Likud MKs would back him either publicly or privately.

Meanwhile, there is still no word from Rabbi Yitzhak David Grossman, the chief rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek in the North, as to whether or not he intends to run. It is understood that the United Torah Judaism party would most likely support Grossman – a Pinsk-Karlin hassid – if he chooses to run, since he would have widespread support from religious and non-religious members of the electoral committee alike, and would stand the best chance of any haredi rabbi to beat Stav.

Rabbi David Lau has said however that he will be staying in the race regardless of which other candidates put themselves forward.

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