Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chief Rabbi Till Death do us Part?

Should the Israeli Chief Rabbis serve until they retire? NRG is reporting that a law with that aim, proposed by Kadima has passed the First Reading stage.

I can't imagine that this is meant to help Haram Metzger - No one supports him. This is clearly a law meant to preserve Harav Shlomo Amar (The sephradic chief rabbi).Harav Amar is popular across the political spectrum, and was instrumental in solving the recent conversion controversy.   Weirdly enough I can't quite figure out what the political angle of this story is. Since Harav Amar was elected in the last Knesset - you would expect that the current Knesset - Led by the Likkud, would be happy to elect a new Rabbi more suited to their aims.

Ynet reported that Science Minister Harav  Hershkowitz (head of the "Mafdal") voted against the law. His reasoning? it would be insulting to the former Chief Rabbanim who were not allowed to stay on. This isn't really the reasoning you expect in a political debate, it sounds more like a half baked talmudic svara. One can assume that this weird reasoning is being used, since he is too embarressed to say that he would allow Harav Amar to stay on but not Harav Metzger. Metzger got the job in 2003 in a political deal that was meant to humiliate the Mafdal. Since the Dati-Leumi public is the only one who cares who the chief rabbi is, we expect Minister  Hershkowitz to stand up a little more openly for his public. 

As I've commented in the past, Israel already has a De-Facto chief rabbi for life - Harav Ovadia Yosef. Whenever a real question of Halacha comes up, Harav Amar asks for Rav Ovadia's backing. It is time that we just accept the halachic reality, and give Harav Ovadia the job again.

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