A clear victory for nepotism and corruption
Following the election: It's time to bring the Chief Rabbinate to its proper burial
In light of the results of the Chief Rabbinate elections, Hiddush CEO Rabbi Uri Regev is calling to dismantle the institution.
The new Chief Rabbis Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef on the right, and Rabbi David Lau receiving a blessing from Shas leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef after being elected. 25-07-2013. Photo: Flash90
After learning of the victory of the new Chief Rabbis: Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, Rabbi Uri Regev, CEO of Hiddush- Freedom of Religion for Israel responded to the embarrasment and expected dissapointment of the results.
"The election of the new Chief Rabbis brings an end to the shameful campaign that shows an unprecedented, low standing of this anachronistic institution. The skullduggery, nepotism, and defamation that accompanied these elections prove that there are few government bodies that muster as much disdain towards Judaism and distances Jewish Israelis from their religion as the Chief Rabbinate."
According to Rabbi Regev, "Anyone who sees the well-being of Judaism as paramount understands the time has come to bring the Chief Rabbinate to a proper burial and with it, do away with the religious coercion and the Orthodox monopoly on Judaism. The fact that both rabbis represent the non-Zionist Haredi community and are both the sons of former Chief Rabbis only intensifies the utter embarrassment of these results."
Israel must return to the authentic Jewish tradition of supporting rabbis who operate by the virtue of voluntary acceptance of their authority and leadership by their communities, not by riding on coercive civil laws and political manipulation.
Rabbi Regev continued: "Undoubtedly, the elected rabbis will continue to speak in flowery language about Jewish unity and the importance of retrieving the Rabbinate's lost respect, but they themselves represent sectarianism, cynical politicization, and growing animosity among different Jewish sectors within and outside Israel."
The election was considered to be one of the most grueling and dirty campaigns to have ever taken place for the Chief Rabbinate. Though there was a lot of momentum for Rabbi David Stav, the moderate candidate from Tzohar, there was little surprise that both ultra-Orthodox candidates prevailed.
"The identity of the new chief rabbis raises significant challenges for both the State of Israel and the Jewish people. They represent extreme views that reject the legitimacy of Jewish diversity, of religious pluralism, of religious freedom, and even the legitimacy of Israeli civil laws and courts. Their election will clearly not end the debate on the future of the rabbinate but will only reignite it."
Instead of perpetuating a coercive and anachronistic institution, Rabbi Regev and Hiddush porpose an alternative model in which communities choose their own rabbis to be funded by the state.
"Israel must return to the authentic Jewish tradition of supporting rabbis who operate by the virtue of voluntary acceptance of their authority and leadership by their communities, not by riding on coercive civil laws and political manipulation."