High Court voids rabbi’s election due to electoral irregularities

Repeat elections will now likely take place in one to two months, although it appears that almost all the members on the 16-member electoral committee will retain their seats.

April 2, 2019 08:54
2 minute read.
Mevaseret Zion

Mevaseret Zion. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The High Court of Justice voided the election of a chief municipal rabbi for Mevaseret Zion due to electoral irregularities, although it has allowed the rabbi who won the now invalidated poll to run again.

Repeat elections will now likely take place in one to two months, although it appears that almost all the members on the 16-member electoral committee will retain their seats, meaning the outcome could well be the same.

The petition against the election was filed by a broad cross section of Mevaseret residents who protested against corruption in the election process, while many – including the mayor himself – have insisted that the city has no need for a municipal chief rabbi, especially one who will cost the city NIS 400,000 in salaries alone every year.

Rabbi Shlomo Ben-Ezra – who received a blessing from the late, revered Shas spiritual leader rabbi Ovadia Yosef – was elected chief municipal rabbi of Mevaseret in January, but was prevented from taking up his post by a temporary injunction issued in line with the demands of the petition.

The legal suit alleged that then Religious Services minister David Azoulay of Shas and his ministry acted in violation of electoral procedures to stack the five-member electoral committee and the 16-member election committee with their allies in order to control the election outcome.

The electoral committee has several central roles in the election process, including the critical task of selecting the synagogues that send delegates to the 16-member election committee that votes in the election.

It emerged that the chairman of the five-member electoral committee who was selected by the religious services minister for Mevaseret was used by the ministry to serve as chairman of numerous electoral committees in different cities, despite having no connection to them.

In addition, two of the five members of the committee who were supposed to be selected by the municipal council were instead selected by Azoulay.

Despite these and other objections, the electoral committee convened and, of the four synagogues selected to send delegates to the election commission, all of them were haredi (ultra-Orthodox) – three Sephardi congregations and one Ashkenazi – despite the fact that the national-religious community in Mevaseret is at least as big, if not bigger, than the haredi community.

Although the High Court decided on Monday to void the election, it has required only one member of the 16-member electoral committee to step down, due to his association with Ben-Ezra.

And Ben-Ezra himself will be allowed to run again.

The rabbi originally sought the position in 1999, but his candidacy was struck down by the High Court at the time due to conflict of interest concerns.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Needy people line up to fill up their baskets with foods and goods on Thursday ahead of the Passover
April 18, 2019
Pesach: Surrounded by charity