Rabbi David Stav speaking at Knesset 370.
(photo credit: Avi Friedman)
The allocated time period for officially submitting a candidacy to stand in the
elections to be Israel’s new Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbis has
The deadline was 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, by which time 10
candidates had submitted their names for consideration by the 150-member
The candidates for Sephardi chief rabbi are Eliyahu
Abergil, president of the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court; Ratzon Arusi, chief
municipal rabbi of Kiryat Ono; Tzion Shalom Boaron, a rabbinical judge on the
Supreme Rabbinical Court; Yehuda Deri, chief municipal rabbi of Beersheba and
brother of Shas chairman Arye Deri; Shmuel Eliyahu, chief municipal rabbi of
Safed and son of the former Sephardi chief rabbi, the late Mordechai Eliyahu;
and Yitzhak Yosef, author of the authoritative 38- volume work on Jewish law
Yalkut Yosef and son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
candidates for Ashkenazi chief rabbi are David Lau, chief municipal rabbi for
Modi’in; Eliezer Igra, a rabbinical judge on the Supreme Rabbinical Court;
Yaakov Shapira, dean of the Merkaz Harav yeshiva and son of former Ashkenazi
chief rabbi the late Avraham Shapira; and David Stav, chief municipal rabbi of
Shoham and chairman of the Tzohar rabbinical association.
will take place on July 14 in the afternoon, and the results will be announced
that same day.
In some last-minute drama, Shas’ candidate Yitzhak Yosef
required the Council of the Chief Rabbinate to convene for an emergency session
because his authorization to serve as a chief municipal rabbi had
The council convened at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and renewed Yosef’s
One of the requirements for candidates of the Chief
Rabbinate is qualification to be a city rabbi or rabbinical judge.
has never served as a chief municipal rabbi or held any other public office,
although he is highly respected as an authority in Jewish law and is dean of the
Hazon Ovadia yeshiva in Jerusalem, founded by his father in 1973.
possible that not all 10 candidates will ultimately contest the
Eliyahu is currently embroiled in a legal battle to preserve
his candidacy. Meretz MK Isawi Frej submitted a petition to the High Court of
Justice on Tuesday to disqualify the rabbi for alleged incitement against Arabs
based on controversial statements he has made about the minority community in
The attorney-general said on Monday that based on those
statements, Eliyahu’s candidacy is “inappropriate” and that he would not provide
legal support for the rabbi in court.
The hearing is scheduled for
There is also a possibility that Deri and Shapira will withdraw
owing to loyalties to other candidates or their sponsors. Deri’s candidacy could
divert votes away from one of the leading Sephardi candidates, Yosef, a move
that would not endear Deri to Yosef’s father. In addition, Shapira’s candidacy
could divert votes away from Lau, one of the two leading Ashkenazi
Although Shapira comes from the national religious movement,
he was hoping for the endorsement of some of the leading haredi rabbis, which
was nevertheless not forthcoming.
Neither Deri nor Shapira are likely to
win the election.
Stav and Lau are the two leading Ashkenazi candidates,
while Yosef, Boaron and Eliyahu (if he is not disqualified) are expected to
receive the lion’s share of votes in the election for the Sephardi position.