July 26: Readers react to new chief rabbis

The outcome was a foregone conclusion because the haredi bloc was and is determined to discredit not only the role of chief rabbi, but the influence of the national-religious community.

July 26, 2013 00:51
3 minute read.

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Sir, – I fear that the election results for the Chief Rabbinate (“Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau elected chief rabbis of Israel,” July 25) are a black day for all Jews in the Land of Israel.

The outcome was a foregone conclusion because the haredi bloc was and is determined to discredit not only the role of chief rabbi, but the influence of the national-religious community.

The success that those who wear knitted kippot have had in learning Torah, building the Land of Israel, defending our country and bringing yiddishkeit to far-flung, disengaged communities is too much for the haredim.

They voted as they did not only because they’re not in the country’s governing coalition, but because this has always been their policy.

One has to admire the courage of Rabbi David Stav, the unsuccessful national-religious candidate for Ashkenazi chief rabbi, who is concerned for the future of the Jewish people. He presented a program for the entire nation (no other candidate did) and tried to buck the haredi mafia.

It’s a shame that the national-religious community did not give him the total support he deserved.

It’s a shame for all of us that he didn’t win.


Sir, – In reaction to his defeat as a candidate for Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Rabbi David Stav told Army Radio that “political scheming defeated the spirit of the nation,” something that shows him to be essentially anti-democratic.

Stav was not stabbed in the back by sinister manipulators – he simply was not judged the best candidate for the job. His comment is a pathetic example of sour grapes.

Rabbi Stav’s claim that the victory as Sephardi chief rabbi by Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, was due to “political forces” seeking to “ensure the continuation of the family’s kashrut certification scheme” reflects very badly on him. I would expect a prompt apology for this slander.

Rabbi Yosef is a world-renowned scholar and author of Yalkut Yosef, a comprehensive, multi-volume halachic work. He was deserving of election quite apart from his parentage.

Rabbi Stav is happy when things go his way but objects when the majority is against him. In view of this, his defeat may be a blessing in disguise.


Salford, UK

Sir, – Even with the best of outcomes, the method of choosing our chief rabbis can hardly be classifiable as a democratic process representing the vox populi.

A voting base of 150 people, of whom over half owe their jobs and allegiance to an entrenched haredi monopoly, cannot be expected to elect candidates whose priorities are other than the status quo.

But the latest election turns farce into outrage as two mediocre princes with virtually nothing to show by way of qualification are elevated to the throne under their respective daddies’ aegis.

Back when there were great hassidic masters who were not puppets of a seedy haredi Cosa Nostra, one of them said: Yichus (pedigree) is like an umbrella – it protects if there is someone under it.

Sadly, the umbrella is no umbrella and the hereditary emperors who are beneath are naked. Feh!


Sir, – I have felt for some time that the increasing trend of a very strict interpretation of Halacha is a form of the Catholicization of Judaism. Now, following the election of the country’s newest chief rabbis, we have the fathers and the sons. Can the holy ghosts be far behind?



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