Rabbi David Stav370.
(photo credit: Nachman Rosenberg)
Candidate for the Chief Rabbinate Rabbi David Stav said on Thursday that while
he respected Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, he would not accept criticism from convicted
criminals. Stav made the remark – an apparent reference to Shas chairman Arye
Deri’s past conviction for bribery – at the President’s Conference in Jerusalem
during a live conversation with veteran reporter Ilana Dayan.
how he felt after Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas movement, fiercely
denounced Stav last week, the rabbi said that he greatly respected Yosef and his
rulings in questions of Jewish law, and has based many of his own legal opinions
on those of Yosef.
“I don’t need to accept criticism from people in Shas
who are convicted criminals, and who are not aware of the works and rulings of
their own rabbi,” Stav said acerbically, in reference to the increasingly strict
interpretation of Jewish law prevalent in the haredi community, despite the
relatively lenient rulings Yosef has issued in the past on several important
Referring to the political challenge of getting elected by the
150-member electoral committee, many of whom are loyal to haredi parties, Stav
said that he was still optimistic that he could get the requisite number of
He added that although Likud has still not publicly backed him,
and despite reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu favors Rabbi David
for the position, Stav noted that there “many Likud MKs who do or will
support me either publicly or privately for chief rabbi.”
Asked why the
prime minister was not endorsing him, Stav said that it was a question for the
prime minister himself.
During the discussion, Stav was challenged as to
exactly how he will bring change to the chief rabbinate if he remained committed
to an Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law.
Stav replied that he hoped
to turn the chief rabbinate into a body that could inspire people to be proud of
their heritage and to want to uphold it, but said that over the past two
decades, significant damage had been inflicted upon the institution and upon the
image of religion in Israel.
The elections for both the Ashkenazi and
Sephardic chief rabbi positions have been scheduled for the week of July 24.