Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sephardi chief rabbi 'goes political'

Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef speaking at the Shas rally (photo: Israel Hayom)

Only a week after being crowned Rishon lezion, the newly-elected chief Sephardi rabbi may be facing a run-in with Israeli law Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, son of the ailing ex-chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spoke at a rally for the orthodox Shas party. From Israel Hayom (with thanks: Michelle):

This past Saturday night, Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef participated in a political rally for Shas in Bnei Brak marking the beginning of the local elections -- in violation of the law. 

The event took place at the Armonot Chen hall, and according to those present, was divided into two parts: The first part, during which the rabbis gave speeches calling to strengthen the support for Shas in the ultra-Orthodox city, and the second part, which featured traditional dancing. The rally, according to those taking part, was entirely political, and included the participation of rabbis and Shas officials. The guest of honor was supposed to be Aryeh Deri, but he was not available due to former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's illness. 

One of the highlights of the event was when the new chief rabbi, who is Ovadia's son, delivered a speech about the Torah and spiritual strength. However, according to clause 42.322 of the civil service regulations, Yosef was not allowed to participate in the rally at all because he is considered to be "a state employee, who ranks as one of the four highest positions in the administrative leadership." As such, he is subject to the "prohibition of participation in the public gatherings of political parties or of any political body as a lecturer on any topic, due to the fact that the appearance of the employee on a party stage may create the impression of party affiliation," as is written in the regulations. 


Sylvia said...

With Rav Ovadia Yosef's health deteriorating, we are going to see resurface old struggles up till now kept under the rug: Ashkenazis' dream to have only one Chief Rabbi (Ashkenazi of course), the internal fights within Shas and within the Sephardi Rabbinate, and the American progressives' dream to eliminate the position of Chief Rabbi altogether.

Rav Ovadia was strong enough to put a lid on all that.
So any news of this kind should be taken with a grain of salt and double-checked.

It is useful to remember that whatever opinion we have of the Chief Rabbinate, or whether or not we like whoever is occupying the position, the Institution of the Rishon Letzion is the last privilege Sephardim have left and if that too is taken away, we'll become something akin to museum pieces.

Anonymous said...

Wh make things easy when you can complicate them?????

Sylvia said...

New Book by Avi Picard reviewed by Daniel Bensimon in Haaretz

Selection and heartbreak: The aliya of North African Jewry by Avi Picard


On a very painful issue.