2013 chief rabbi candidates 370.
(photo credit: Ivgy, Wikipedia, Courtesy)
One of the fiercest and most intense elections in Israel’s history comes
to an end Wednesday with the election of the new Ashkenazi and Sephardi
chief rabbis by special vote in Jerusalem.
Wednesday afternoon with Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat among the first to
vote at the poll in the Leonardo Hotel. The polls closed at 6 p.m.
150 people eligible to vote, including 80 rabbis representing religious councils and 70
lay officials representing the government, the Knesset and local
authorities, 147 cast their votes on Wednesday.
The vote was held over three hours in the
afternoon, with Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan set to announce the results at
The Ashkenazi race pits Shoham Chief Rabbi David Stav against
Modi’in Chief Rabbi David Lau and Merkaz Harav yeshiva head Ya’acov
Beersheba Chief Rabbi Yehuda Deri and Jerusalem Rabbinical Court
head Eliyahu Abergel quit the race for Sephardi chief rabbi on Tuesday, leaving
four candidates: Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Hazon Ovadia yeshiva head
Yitzhak Yosef, High Rabbinical Court Judge Zion Boaron and Kiryat Ono Chief
Rabbi Ratzon Arusi.
Both races feature face-offs between the
religious-Zionist and ultra-Orthodox camps. Religious Zionists support Stav and
Eliyahu, while haredim back Lau and Yosef. Stav has the backing of Bayit Yehudi,
Yisrael Beytenu and Hatnua, while Shas leaders are campaigning intensively for
Yosef and Lau.
The election of Yosef, the son of Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia
Yosef, is considered key to the survival of the party. Shas faction chairman
Ariel Attias said that based on conversations with nearly the entire electorate,
he was positive Yosef would win. Attias dismissed the chances of Boaron, who has
the backing of outgoing Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar.
and Eliyahu would mean a major victory for Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali
Eliyahu has gained support following attempts by Attorney-General Yehuda
Weinstein to prevent him from running, due to past statements Weinstein
racist. A group of protesters demonstrated against Eliyahu's candidacy
outside of the polling station in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On on Wednesday called the Chief Rabbinate a corrupt and nepotistic institution.
said the Chief Rabbinate is an institution that "promotes homophobia
and the exclusion of women and non of the candidates intend to change
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