Ovadia Yosef Shas campaign launch 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
It looks increasingly likely that the Shas candidate for Sephardi Chief Rabbi
will be Rabbi Avraham Yosef, the son of the movement’s spiritual leader Rabbi
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, a Shas party
official and close associate of the Yosef family said that Rabbi Avraham looked
most likely to be given the nod as the party’s designated candidate for the
Earlier this week, a separate party source also told the Post
that Avraham Yosef was in pole position to receive the party’s endorsement ahead
of his younger brother Yitzhak Yosef, the author of a comprehensive and
encyclopedic work of contemporary Jewish law called Yalkut Yosef.
be Ovadia Yosef who will make the final decision, as is the case for all major
issues dealt with by Shas, although the decision has been delayed somewhat by
Yosef’s recent hospitalization and surgery.
understands that it
was hoped Ovadia Yosef would be released from hospital on Friday, but that he
will now remain in hospital over Shabbat and will return home early next
Speaking on Thursday, the Shas party official said that while
Yitzhak is very highly regarded in terms of his Torah scholarship and breadth of
knowledge, Avraham, as well as being a respected authority in Jewish law in his
own right, was also more suitable to the public role and the tasks that come
with it, required of a chief rabbi.
Rabbi Avraham Yosef is currently the
chief rabbi of Holon.
He will, however, face political opposition from
non-haredi parties over controversial comments and rulings in Jewish law he has
made in the past.Ma’ariv
reported on Wednesday that the rabbi has said
it is preferable for women not to drive because it is immodest, especially in
predominantly haredi neighborhoods, and has also ruled that it is forbidden to
sell land in Israel to a non-Jew.
Several MKs have expressed opposition
to Avraham Yosef’s candidacy, and the Movement for Quality Government in Israel
called on the Attorney-General’s Office to call the rabbi to a hearing to
explain his rulings.
A Shas official said in response that these rulings
were presented in a superficial manner by the paper, and accused Ma’ariv
running a campaign against Avraham Yosef in favor of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the
chief rabbi of Safed and another candidate for the position of Sephardi chief
Avraham Yosef has shown moderation on other issues in the past,
for instance speaking out against gender separation on buses.
Rabbi Tzion Boaron, another candidate for the position of Sephardi chief rabbi,
let it be known on Thursday that he had recently dispatched a harshly worded
letter to Shas chairman Arye Deri accusing him of torpedoing legislation
designed to allow Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar to stand for reelection.
realized beyond any doubt that it was your hand in this, at first on the side
and then as head of the movement,” wrote Boaron.
“What has been done is
despicable and unparalleled in its destruction of the Torah and its honor,”
Political sources have claimed that Deri opposed Amar’s
candidacy because the rabbi is more associated with the camp of Eli Yishai, who
Deri successfully toppled as Shas chairman after returning from his political
exile following his conviction and imprisonment for accepting bribes while in
The ongoing political rivalry between the two has led to
continued battles within Shas, including the fight over the Chief Rabbinate.