Jan 22, 2012

SHAS Taking Over Rabbanut, Ho Hum!

What a shock! The country is reeling (not really, but Shas is) at the revelation that Shas has been trying to take over the Rabbanut.

A high level member of SHAS has sent a letter to the State Comptroller detailing a plan by SHAS to take over the Rabbanut, and also revealing corruption. It seems this information, based upon which the Comptroller has said that he is now opening an investigation into the matter, makes Rav Ovadiah Yosef and family look very bad.

Supposedly the informant, though I don't know why he would, is one of Rav Ovadiah's sons, Rav Dovid Yosef, though he denies it.

Anyway, it seems that every person in the country could see that SHAS has been trying to take over the Rabbanut, though I do not see what is necessarily wrong with that as long as it is not done in a corrupt manner. The revelation here is nothing new except that it is an admission to a concerted effort, rather than just a natural process.

It is really a shame that this has to be happening right when one of Rav Ovadiah's sons discovers he has a serious case of cancer and the family should really be pulling together and supporting each other right now rather than fighting.


  1. I'd be thrilled if Shas took over the Rabbanut. Much better than the Litvak charedi takeover.

  2. b'sheva had a long article about how the srugim and the sefardim have decided to work together to get the city rabbinate positions, leaving the chareidim out in the rain. for whatever reason, shas has decided that it is time to cast the chareidim and work with the DLs. the chareidim of course are not so pleased.

  3. Ben- If that's the case someone in Shas forgot to inform Moshe Abutbul!

  4. there was an article about it recently. it was rgearding the fight over appointing a chief rabbi of jerusalem. Shas chose to not back any specific candidate for the ashkenazi position, which helped the DL get the upper hand, as their candidate was backed by Nir Barkat. Moshe Gafni was very upset and threatened to work towards shutting down all the moatzot datiot which are generally controlled by Shas (or in the process of being taken over by them). It was also revealed that in other cities, I think like Petach Tikva, there was also a working agreement between Shas and the DL.

    I dont know if that was to achieve specific interests and gains, but not part of an overall change to working with the DL instead of UTJ or if it is a change of tactics.

  5. All of this adds up to a pretty good argument in favor of separation of shul and state. Is it supposed to bring honor to Torah that political parties fight over control of btei din and rabbinutes, like political spoils? Like Commenter Abba, I prefer Shas's values to those of the Litvak community, but really, how in the world is this situation supposed to be squared with the things Chazal say about the integrity of judges?

  6. rafi g

    it wasn't simply a case of backing (or not backing) a specific candidate. margi changed the criteria for who would be on the board choosing the chief rabbi of jer in such a way that gave the DLs a bigger voice.

    the rabbinate has a long history of ugly politics. the choice of who got the official title of "gaon" was often based on who raised the most money.

  7. correct, though I think it was Barkat, not Margi, that made th change. UTJ wanted Shas to oppose the change, the Shas said we are staying out of it as we have chosen the path of not intervening regarding the selection of the ashkenazi rabbi. The irony of this, which helped the DL candidate, is that the reason Shas has this rule of staying out of it is because many years ago Rav Elyashiv asked them to stay out of the ashkenazi race when it was beneficial to the UTJ candidate. this time that policy hurt UTJ and helped the DL

  8. And how is this different from Tammany Hall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammany_Hall)? Or do we just have the version that wears a Kippah?

    I think we have a strong argument for separation of shul and state!

  9. I think there was always a good argument for such separation. the problem is certain groups would never let it pass as it would require too much of them - suddenly tuition would shoot up, school fees, shul membership etc.

  10. separation of shul & state doesn't have to be total, like in the US. the state could still support religious schools as is done in europe, even if things like the moetzot datiot were closed (and their functions transferred to the city) or if the rabbinate was stripped down, etc.


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