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July 02, 2013

Haredi Chief Rabbi Candidate Fumbles Own Ethics Challenge

Rabbi David LauA 150 member commission (1/3 Knesset members, 1/3 rabbis, 1/3 representatives of the public) elects Israel's chief rabbis. Haredi Rabbi David Lau, who sits on that panel, is running for the position of Ashkenazi chief rabbi, and he wants to be able to vote for himself. He also wants his father – haredi former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau – who sits on that panel to be able to vote, as well. Lau argued that politicians like the prime minister can vote for themselves in regular elections, therefore, Lau argued, he should be able to do the same – even though each vote on the panel represents approximately 50,000 individual Israelis.

Rabbi David Lau
Rabbi David Lau

A 150 member commission (1/3 Knesset members, 1/3 rabbis, 1/3 representatives of the public) elects Israel's chief rabbis. Haredi Rabbi David Lau, who sits on that panel, is running for the position of Ashkenazi chief rabbi, backed by many leading haredi rabbis. He wants to be able to vote for himself.

More than that, Lau also wants his father – haredi former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau – who also sits on the panel that elects chief rabbis, to be able to vote for him, as well.

David Lau argued that politicians like the prime minister can vote for themselves in regular elections. Therefore, he argued, he should be able to do the same – even though each vote on the panel represents approximately 50,000 individual Israelis.

Israel's attorney general, who decides issues like this, rejected Lau's request – and his logic.

Yeshiva World reports:

The Ministry of Justice on Monday, 23 Tammuz 5773 [i.e., yesterday] rejected a request from Rabbi David Lau to permit him and his father [former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau] to vote among the voting body for the new Chief Rabbis of Israel since he has submitted his name as a candidate [for the post of Ashkenazi chief rabbi]. He was told by the attorney general that doing so would represent a conflict of interests and therefore, he [and his father] may not [vote].

Rabbi Lau maintains that a prime minister may vote for himself in [general] elections, so he should be permitted [to do] the same. He was told that the election of chief rabbis is different as the chief rabbis are not elected by the general public, but a [small] select body [of rabbis, Members of Knesst and representatives of certain public interst groups – 150 members in total]. Such a process is viewed to be on a higher level that a regular appointment of a civil service employee and therefore he and his father may not vote as requested.

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Can someone tell me how this process works? Who votes?

To Hal 1
Du read the article

To Nussi, I did read the two paragraph article. Did you see anything there that explains the workings or composition of this 'body' that elects the chief rabbi? Is it the Academy of Motion Pictures. Who the heck are they. Du explain.

Vote for Pedro.

Why can't the general public vote for a chief rabbi?

This is what comes of conflating politics and religion, the temporal and the ostensibly spiritual. Bad policy. Voting for yourself in the general election is one thing - one person, one vote. Takes a liberal application of twisted logic to consider that to entitle one's self to what amounts to 50,000 or however many votes' worth of influence.

not too long ago, the father himself (a very eloquent and ethics deficient character) was also considered a candidate. to give a besser chance to the family to regain the title. if not the father then the son. if not the son, then the father.
PS: that's the same father saved in the holocaust by alternatively john paul II (now himself a candidate for sainthood), or the father or the uncle of kareem Abdul jabbar etc....

Vote for Pedro.

I am all for it, Sr YL.
Pero, porque Pedro? :-)

Lau jr went to the Yishuv Hadash, the same "modern" Haredi yeshiva Yigal Amir who assassinated Yitchak Rabin went to.

There are no ethics challenges here.

I have reviewed the relevant law and it does not deal with this situation at all. So questioning the law is legitimate.

Additionally the committee consists of 150 people.
A quorum is 80 people.
Thus a person may be elected chief rabbi with a total of 41 votes..

A link to the law.

http://www.lehitgaresh.co.il/doc.php?id=3&src=legislation

When reading the law there is no connection of any ratio to voters.

In terms of the rabbinic part of the committee there is a attempt to equalize representation of sfardi and Ashkenazi representatives.

Major cities,regional councils,smaller cities etc.. Andfrom all of these locals a equalization between sfardi and Ashkenazi representation..

That just applies to representation from rabbinic authorities.

One of the categories of committee members has a list that I beleive is exclusively women. There is no connection to representing a prortionate amount of the population.

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