A special electoral assembly on Wednesday elected Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau as Israel’s next chief rabbis, after weeks of a controversial and tense candidacy period. The two chief rabbis will hold office for the next decade.
Both are sons of former chief rabbis: Yosef’s father is Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, and Lau is the son of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau. Both of the new chief rabbis are from the ultra-Orthodox sector, and their victories will be seen as a triumph over the National Religious stream.
Of the 150 members of the electoral assembly, 147 cast their ballots in the election. Lau and Yosef each took 68 votes in the election, in a clear victory over their contenders.
The other three candidates on the Sephardi ballot, in addition to Rabbi Yosef, head of the Hazon Ovadia Yeshiva, were Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safed, who took 49 votes; and Zion Boaron, a rabbinical court judge on the High Rabbinical Court, who won just 28 votes; Ratzon Arusi, rabbi of Kiryat Ono, withdrew his candidacy for the Sephardi post at the very last minute.
Running for the Ashkenazi position, in addition to Lau, were Rabbis David Stav, rabbi of Shoham and chairman of the Tzohar movement, who won 54 votes; and Yaakov Shapira, head of the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, who walked away with 25 votes. Two candidates, Rabbis Eliyahu Abergel and Eliezer Igra, withdrew from the race in the past few days.
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This story "David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef Elected New Israeli Chief Rabbis" was written by Haaretz.