After a long legal battle, the Tel Aviv District Court has vindicated the struggles by the Kfar Saba Religious Council to oust a rabbi appointed to the city by the national rabbinate, reports www.local.co.il. The court ruled that Rabbi Nahum Shir was not authorized to provide religious services to residents in the city or to work in the Religious Council's offices, and ordered him to pay NIS 20,000 in legal costs.
According to the report, the trouble began after Kfar Saba's rabbi, Yaakov Pinchas Shir, retired and the National Rabbinical Council appointed his son, Rabbi Nahum Shir, to register marriages in the city, against the wishes of the local Religious Council and of the city's acting rabbi, Avraham Chelouche. The Religious Council turned to the courts, arguing that the appointment constituted nepotism and was "not kosher," and that it was invalid without the approval of the city's Religious Council and acting rabbi. The reports said the Israeli Chief Rabbinate eventually agreed to cancel the appointment and another position was found elsewhere for Rabbi Shir, but although he agreed to this initially, he apparently changed his mind later and refused to give up his post in Kfar Saba.
Last week, judge Michal Agmon-Gonen ruled in favor of the Religious Council and said that Rabbi Shir was not authorized to work in the offices of the Kfar Saba Religious Council and was not authorized to provide religious services to residents. She ordered the rabbi to stop offering religious services in Kfar Saba and to stay out of the Religious Council's offices, and ordered him to pay the NIS 20,000 in legal costs. Religious Council head Bechor Vaknin welcomed the court's decision, saying it was another step in the council's efforts to function properly and cleanly.