Stav: I won't take criticism from convicted criminals

Candidate for chief rabbinate says he won't take criticism from Shas politicians, like previously convicted Arye Deri.

June 20, 2013 20:50
1 minute read.
Rabbi David Stav

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.

Asked about 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.

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“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 issues.

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 votes.

He added that although Likud has still not publicly backed him, and despite reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu favors Rabbi David Lau 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.

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