Sefardi Haredi Rabbi Changes His Official Age, Allegedly To Qualify To Run For Chief Rabbi
Rabbi Ratzon Arussi changed the date of birth on his identity documents, making himself one year younger, allegedly to qualify to run for Sefardi chief rabbi of Israel, a position that has an age cap set at 70-years-old.
Yeshiva World reports:
Of course, making himself one year younger than he actually was would have allowed him to delay his IDF service by a year. But is unclear if that is why Arusi gave the IDF a different date of birth than what was then on his identity documents.
Kiryat Ono Chief Rabbi Ratzon Arussi changed the date of birth on his teudat zehut identity card, now placing his age at 69, below the age cut off for a candidate wishing to run in the election for chief rabbi.
The rav arrived in Israel from Yemen in 1949 and in his identification card it is written that he was born on January 1, 1943. Kalman Lipskind of Maariv reports that a number of months ago, before the rav officially declared his candidacy; he changed his year of birth to 1944, making him 69-years-old today and therefore, he is eligible to run for the rabbinate post.
It should be noted that it is not unusual for there to be some confusion regarding a birth date of an immigrant from an Arab country such as Yemen, for in those days, record keeping was minimal at best. It is also pointed out that while the rabbi’s ID card said he was born in 1943, when the rav was inducted into the IDF, his year of birth was listed as 1944, and this is reflected in his military documents. The rav made the change to his identification card as well after he recently received reliable testimony that his year of birth was indeed 1944. The rav insists that the fact this occurred a number of months ago is in no way connected to the Chief Rabbinate election.