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.