Shlomo Amar writing Torah Scroll 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mihai Barbu )
Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon filed a legal opinion on Monday saying that the
proposed Knesset law that could enable current Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar
to be elected to an unprecedented additional term may not be legal.
noted that Amar helps appoint the panel members that would have the power to
give him an additional term as chief rabbi.
The Knesset legal adviser
said that such a situation was a clear conflict of interest and was never
intended by the Knesset.
Yinon said that when the chief rabbi was given
power to help choose the committee that would choose the next chief rabbi, the
assumption was that he would be prevented from contending for the position, as
the current law provides.
The new legislation at the very least would
need to recognize this inconsistency and address it, if it wished to pass muster
for legal validity, Yinon said.
At the same time, a Knesset spokesman
said that Yinon had not formally declared the legislation
Meanwhile, the High Court of Justice heard a related petition
demanding that elections for the rabbinate be held on schedule on June
The High Court gave the state an additional week to respond, as the
state said that the new law – which would resolve many important outstanding
issues, such as women’s representation in appointments of the Israeli rabbinate
– was close to completion, and to resolve these issues some delay was
In any case, with the election date still not formally
finalized and the rule being that elections cannot occur sooner than three weeks
after the date is finalized, all parties agreed that it would already be
impossibly to comply with the June 23 deadline, and some delay would be
At the hearing, the court repeatedly urged the petitioners to
allow the Knesset to resolve the issue and questioned what impact the court
could ultimately have even if it could issue a conditional order demanding
explanations from the state.
The new legislation had been held up until
last week by internal coalition feuding between Bayit Yehudi and Hatnua over
different legislative initiatives that each had been sponsoring or
The Amar bill has been promoted by Amar himself, and he has
promised to back Bayit Yehudi’s candidate for Ashkenazi chief rabbi, the
recently nominated Rabbi David Stav, in return for the party helping pass
legislation to allow him to stand for a second term.