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Stav’s determination to avoid civil marriage has made him, since he announced his candidacy, unpopular with some on the Israeli left.
Uri Regev, head of the Hiddush, a group lobbying for religious pluralism, wrote in an op-ed in the Forward that the notion that Stav will be “inclusive, accommodating and liberal” is “just an illusion.” Haaretz subsequently published an editorial titled “There Are No Moderate Rabbis,” claiming that in seeking to uphold the religious monopoly on marriage, he “only wants to perpetuate the denial of civil rights, and at most promises that with him, the handcuffs will be covered in fur.”
Stav argues that religious marriage is “key for preserving the Jewish future of the State of Israel” along with the Law of Return and observance of the Sabbath in official contexts. He takes the criticism by Regev and Haaretz as a compliment, saying that “the left wing knows that I’m the one that can save the image of the chief rabbi.”
Contact Nathan Jeffay at jeffay@forward. com