45 Religious Zionist rabbis affiliated with Tzohar have agreed to set up conversion courts independent of the Chief Rabbinate in an attempt to break the haredi monopoly – and haredi stonewalling – over conversion. More than that, at least one of these rabbis is a chief rabbi of a city and can order the city's religious council to register the marriages of these converts and their future children – and this he promises to do. If Tzohar can pull this off it will destroy the Chief Rabbinate. Why? Without a monopoly on all areas of Jewish life, the Chief Rabbinate is rendered impotent. Choice and competition will effectively destroy it.
The Rabbinut is coercive rather than instructive. Its years of bad behavior under often corrupt haredi leadership has distanced it from the people it is meant to serve.
So what happens if the Rabbinut falls? If you're Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the so-called leader of all non-hasidic haredim, you win, just as you win if the Tzohar attempt fails.
Because Rabbi Elyashiv wants either a compliant Rabbinut under his complete control or an irrelevant Rabbinut stripped of its power and meaning.
No matter how this Tzohar gambit plays out, Rabbi Elyashiv wins – with one difference. An irrelevant Rabbinut weakens Rabbi Elyashiv's power and loosens his corrosive grip on Israeli society. And that, despite its potential drawbacks, is a worthwhile and necessary goal.
May we see it soon and in ours days.