Chief Rabbi Metzger wins court battle to retain powers

High Court of Justice on Thursday rejects petition aimed to disqualify Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi from exercising certain functions.

By MATTHEW WAGNER
February 5, 2009 21:40
1 minute read.
Chief Rabbi Metzger wins court battle to retain powers

Metzger 248.88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

 
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The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected a petition that aimed to disqualify Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger from exercising certain functions. The petition, brought by Ometz-Citizens for Social and Legal Justice in Israel, called on the court to reverse a decision that permitted Metzger to serve on the Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinical Judges. Ometz argued that disparaging comments made by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz against Metzger included in a 2006 legal opinion meant Metzger should be disqualified from serving on the committee. However, the High Court rejected Ometz's claims. In February 2008, the Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinical Judges ruled that despite Mazuz's comments, Metzger should be allowed to serve on the committee. In April 2006, Mazuz issued an opinion saying that while there was not enough evidence to indict Metzger for allegedly improperly receiving free stays at a Jerusalem hotel, the chief rabbi should nevertheless step down. On Thursday, the court said it did not have the jurisdiction to intervene in the committee's decision. However, the justices criticized Metzger's behavior. For instance, Justice Edmond Levy wrote that several of Metzger's statements in which he explained his stay in the Jerusalem hotel were unconvincing. "If I had sat in judgment of Metzger... I would have thought that central aspects of Metzger's version of the incidents do not hold up against the hard facts presented by the attorney-general," Levy wrote. "Nevertheless, in accordance with the purely legalistic aspect of this case... I see no way of avoiding the conclusion that this court cannot interfere." A source in Metzger's office said they praised the decision of the High Court that adopted the opinion of the Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinical Judges.

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