Thursday, April 18, 2013

Will The Jewish Home Nominate Harav Ariel as Chief Rabbi?

From Yisrael Hayom:

Habayit Hayehudi is likely to back Rabbi Yaakov Ariel for the position of chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Israel. Ariel, who currently serves as the chief rabbi of Ramat Gan, is considered a prominent figure in the religious Zionist community.
Sources privy to the party's efforts on his behalf told Israel Hayom that the other religious Zionist rabbis vying for the position have been told that if Ariel agrees to run, they are expected to withdraw from the race.

Harav Ariel was the Religious Zionist candidate last time round (2002), when he lost to the haredi candidate Harav Metzger. In 2002 he was actually considered -across the RZ spectrum - a very popular candidate, despite being quite strict (and wearing a black hat). However, I think times have changed somewhat. Firstly, in the years that have passed Harav Ariel is slightly better known and is generally (though not necessarily correctly) considered to be a Hardalnick rather than a liberal.

Secondly, and despite his popularity in 2002, Harav Ariel is not really seen as a leader of the RZ movement. To be fair none of the other candidates for chief rabbi are either, but at least Harav Stav is fairly well known in the wider public.

According to Srugim, Harav Ariel's miraculous return is part of a parcel deal with Shas, where in exchange of Shas's support of Harav Ariel's (currently illegal) nominations as Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi,  the Jewish Home will support a second (currently illegal) term for Harav Amar as sephradic Chief Rabbi.

Good times.

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