Yisrael Beytenu backs Stav for rabbinate

Livni opposes tailoring legislation for specific candidates.

Rabbi David Stav 370 (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
Rabbi David Stav 370
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
Signification opposition from within the government was expressed on Tuesday to any deal being formulated by Bayit Yehudi to put forward Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, the municipal chief rabbi of Ramat Gan, as the national-religious candidate for Ashkenazi chief rabbi.
In a statement to the media, Yisrael Beytenu denied that there was any agreement between it and Bayit Yehudi and reiterated its support for Rabbi David Stav, chairman of the national-religious Tzohar rabbinical association, as a candidate for the position.
“Yisrael Beytenu emphasizes once more that it is supporting Rabbi David Stav for chief rabbi, and sees him as the only figure who can bring about the desired change in the rabbinate,” the statement read.
The Hatnua party, led by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, announced on Tuesday that it would not support any legislation designed for specific individuals, citing two bills which may be proposed within the context of the elections for chief rabbi.
Current Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar would only be able to stand for reelection if legislation is passed allowing someone to serve in the position for two terms. Ariel, 79, would need legislation permitting someone over age 70 to run for chief rabbi.
“Even if we’re talking about people who are fitting for a position, legislation needs to be devised on a general basis and with universal values, and not stitched together for the needs of a [specific] person,” said Livni in a statement to the press.
Bayit Yehudi is currently trying to formulate a deal whereby the party will advance legislation to allow Amar to stand for a second term in order to gain backing from Shas – with whom Amar is closely tied – for a national-religious candidate.
Senior national-religious leader Rabbi Haim Druckman is promoting Ariel as that candidate, which would require yet more legislation for the same deal.
Hatnua and Yesh Atid have both expressed support for Stav as Ashkenazi chief rabbi, and have indicated that they would be opposed to legislation allowing Ariel to stand.
Citing anonymous sources, Israel HaYom reported on Tuesday that Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett had met with Netanyahu, who agreed to advance the requisite legislation for the deal.