Bayit Yehudi MK defies rabbis in backing Stav

Uri Orbach endorses Rabbi David Stav for post of Ashkenazi chief rabbi, while party clerics back Rabbi Yaakov Ariel.

May 28, 2013 12:11
2 minute read.
Rabbi David Stav

Rabbi David Stav 370. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Bayit Yehudi MK Uri Orbach lost patience with the interminable squabble regarding the candidacy for Ashkenazi chief rabbi by publicly endorsing Rabbi David Stav Monday night as his preferred candidate for the post.

Orbach is the first Bayit Yehudi MK to publicly back any candidate, in an issue that has bitterly divided the party.

Bayit Yehudi’s rabbinic leadership has fervently pushed for the nomination of Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, the chief municipal rabbi of Ramat Gan, but because he is past the age of eligibility for the job, and due to support for Stav from coalition partners Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beytenu and Hatnua, the chances of Ariel’s candidacy moving forward are now extremely slim.

And on Tuesday morning, Rabbi Haim Druckman, who has been leading the push for Ariel, said that Stav should have withdrawn his candidacy in favor of Ariel.

Writing on his Facebook wall, Orbach said that he would be supporting Stav’s candidacy with no caveats.

“Right now, after the chances for the election of Rabbi Ariel have been reduced to zero (as was known and expected from the start) we need to support the candidacy of the person which the “deal” was principally designed to torpedo,” Orbach wrote in reference to Stav and a proposed political deal whereby Bayit Yehudi and Shas would provide mutual support for Ariel as Ashkenazi incumbent Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar to keep his position.

“Despite all the deals and the twists and the urgent conferences and the threats, secret and overt, Rabbi Stav is a rabbi great in Torah, national-religious, committed to the Jewish People and the State of Israel, a graduate of our amazing education system, and with a program to strengthen the love of the Torah and the connection between the rabbinate and the Jewish People,” said Orbach.

“This is what the vast majority of the public, including many rabbis who are in silent support, and the majority of our [Bayit Yehudi] voters, expect from us,” the MK continued, adding with emphasis “OUR VOTERS!” in an attack against the Bayit Yehudi rabbinic leadership which has provided the impetus behind the support for Ariel.

Orbach continued, asking, without reference to the race for the chief rabbinate, “who was supposed to lead the political process for the national-religious movement? Rabbis (and their aides) or politicians?

“Who are the national-religious politicians committed to? Only to the rabbis (with their approximated political power) or to the voting public?

“The answers for me are clearer than ever,” Orbach concluded.

In response to these comments, Druckman said that at the very least, issues regarding the rabbinate and rabbinical issues should be left to rabbis to decide.

In reference to the apparent failure of the Amar-Ariel deal, Druckman said “I really think Rabbi Stav should have withdrawn his candidacy in favor of Rabbi Ariel.”

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