Otniel Schneller 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
There should be a way to dismiss neighborhood rabbis who do not adequately serve
their communities, Kadima MK Otniel Schneller said Tuesday, during a State
Control Committee follow-up discussion on a recent scathing State Comptroller’s
Report. Tuesday’s meeting was the third in recent months on the ramifications of
the state comptroller’s findings, which stressed the need to define the duties
of a neighborhood rabbi, the procedure of electing one, and how their work ties
in with that of synagogue rabbis and city rabbis.
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The report also called
for these rabbis’ vacation days to be regulated and reported. Schneller
praised the work of the Religious Services Ministry in consolidating
recommendations and procedures to address the shortcomings, and noted the
importance of the input of the Chief Rabbinical Council. He also called
on the Finance Ministry to raise the salary of neighborhood rabbis, and said it
was “a disgrace that a rabbi with 40 years seniority only makes NIS 10,000 a
month – if he gets his paycheck on time.”
Schneller also noted that
alongside the important points raised in the State Comptroller’s Report,
sanctions should be introduced for rabbis who do not suit their community, or
who are not functioning in a satisfactory manner. There is currently no way to
fire a neighborhood rabbi.
The committee will convene again in May,
Schneller said, when the report being drawn up by the ministry will have been
completed to include the feedback from the Chief Rabbinate. That session
will discuss three central aspects of the topic – the appointment, function, and
conditions of neighborhood rabbis.
At the conclusion of the committee
meeting, Schneller used the platform to issue a warning to Chief Rabbinate
Director- General Oded Wiener on an entirely different topic: the ongoing delay
in marking the tests for rabbinic judge candidates that the Chief Rabbinate
conducted months ago.
“The tests are lying in boxes for four months
already, waiting to be checked,” he said, noting that Wiener had assured members
of the Knesset that the results would be available in no more than three
“If this matter is not resolved in a week, I will ask the Civil
Service Commission to immediately fire [Wiener] or the person in charge of the
testing,” Schneller said.