Justice Minister, AG Close To Banning Racist Rabbi From Running For Chief Rabbi
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the racist chief rabbi of Sefat, wants to run for the position of Sefardi chief rabbi of Israel. Many Israeli don;t want that to happen. And now it seems that Israel's justice minister and attorney general are about to ban Eliyahu from running.
Yeshiva World reports:
Officials in the Justice Ministry on Tuesday evening 24 Tammuz 5773 [i.e., last night] indicated Justice Minister (The Movement [Party]) Tzipi Livni may exercise her ministerial authority to disqualify the candidacy of [Zionist Orthodox] Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu.
Tzfas Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is a candidate to become Israel’s next Rishon L’Tzion. Livni and others in the political left feel Rav Eliyahu has made too many racist statements against Arabs to be considered for the position of chief rabbi. Earlier in the week MK (Labor) Eitan Cabel called for the disqualification of the rav’s candidacy.
It appears that Livni has already turned to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to learn if she has the ministerial authority to take disciplinary action against Rav Eliyahu to disqualify him. At present, Rav Eliyahu is the leading candidate for the post of Sephardi Chief Rabbi.
The momentum is already in motion as MK (Yesh Atid) Dr. Aliza Lavie sent a letter to Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, calling on the dati leumi [Zionist Orthodox] party not to back Rav Eliyahu due to his racist statements and policies. Lavie feels that piskei Halacha of the rav opposing the sale or rental of homes in Tzfas to Arabs is racist, while Rav Eliyahu explained numerous times there is a fierce battle taking place for control of the holy city, and therefore, Jews may not sell [or rent] their homes to non-Jews.
Ynet adds a ton of information:
…Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein sees Safed's Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu as an unworthy candidate for the post of Israel's Sephardic chief rabbi. In light of Eliyahu's past statements, Weinstein decided Tuesday to summon the rabbi for a hearing before making a final decision on the matter.…
The attorney general received requests in recent days to disqualify Eliyahu's candidacy over his past statements, but decided to give the rabbi the option to present his side of the story before making a decision and intervening in the matter.
In closed forums, Weinstein voiced his opinion that Eliyahu's candidacy was inappropriate in light of the rabbi's racist statements and the national nature of the position.
Justice Ministry Spokesman Moshe Cohen said in response that "following different appeals received by the attorney general in regards to Rabbi Eliyahu's candidacy for chief rabbi, it was decided that as long as the matter is relevant – the rabbi will be given a hearing on this subject."
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday that she had asked the attorney general last month for his opinion on the possibility of launching disciplinary procedures against Rabbi Eliyahu, and that she was looking into the option of launching those procedures now.
"The chief rabbi is not only a halachic authority, but also the face of the Jewish state and its values – both towards the public in Israel and towards the entire world," the minister said.
"A chief rabbi in Israel represents not only the rabbinical institution, but Israel as a state as well. Therefore, his rulings and statements supporting nationalistic discrimination, which reek of racism, may damage the gentle fabric of relations and deepen the animosity and internal rift between us and Israel's Arab citizens.”…