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Thursday, July 25, 2013 

The sad consequences of the Haredi victory at the chief rabbinate

David Weinberg's covered the election for chief rabbi, and how it's bound to spell trouble, not the least being the potential that the Haredi parties could be well on their way back to the coalition. The reason it's not surprising that 2 Haredis won for their movements is because:
Almost all the rabbis and religious court judges on the electing body (98 of them; or two-thirds of the entire panel) were haredi or haredi-affiliated rabbis -- most of whom had been appointed to their positions by the haredi chief rabbis and religious affairs ministers of the past twenty years.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert worked intensively behind the scenes to ensure the election of the haredi candidates for chief rabbi, to spite Bennett in Netanyahu's case, and to strengthen their alliances with the haredi political parties with an eye toward future coalition governments

Make no mistake about it. Not only did the haredim maintain their control over the Rabbinate, but they are coming back into government faster than you think.

Thirdly, the religious Zionist community itself was divided going into these elections between conservative and more liberal camps, with the former camp failing to back Stav, and Habayit Hayehudi backing Stav only late in the game and somewhat half-heartedly. [...]

All this is one more sad result of the unfortunate Oslo peace process. In the 1990s, the political Left handed the keys to Israel's Jewish character to the ultra-Orthodox, in order to purchase haredi support for the Oslo process and the disengagement. Haredi rabbis began a slow but inexorable conquest, with the backing of the reigning Labor party, of city rabbinates, religious courts, conversion courts, municipal religious councils, kashrut agencies and more, turning the Rabbinate into a contrary, backward force that created more problems than it solved. Religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox rabbis, who had built and controlled the Rabbinate for the country's first 40 years and who were generally much more attuned to the needs of the non-religious and Zionist public, were pushed out.

Yesterday's election result, solidifying a haredi-secular alliance (for Netanyahu and Olmert), may herald the coming of an Oslo III accord, with haredi factions once again backing far-reaching diplomatic moves in concert with secular politicians at the expense of the more right-wing religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox public.
Good that he reminds again where much of the problems arose from with the Haredi community - the left. And Netanyahu has certainly disgraced himself by refusing to back a non-Haredi candidate for the rabbinate. I think this is just one more reason why it'd be best to discontinue the government-funded rabbinate if all that's bound to happen is that more corruption will occur behind the scenes.

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