In the past, Rabbi David Stav, chairman of the Tzohar rabbinic organization and rabbi of the town of Shoham, has announced a number of times that he was considering throwing his hat in the ring, so to speak, for the position of Israel’s chief rabbi. recently, according to the Srugim website, Rabbi Stav has received support from senior National religious rabbis who pointed out that his Torah knowledge, personality and achievements, have led them to recommend him for this high post.
Back in 2010, in an interview he gave Maariv, Rabbi Stav was asked if the very existence of his organization, Tzohar, which is attempting to make up for the perceived failures of the chief rabbinate in communication with the secular Jews in Israel who require its services, might not be an indictment of a bankrupted chief rabbinate.
Choosing his words carefully, Rabbi Stav said that, ideally, Tzohar should have been invented by the Rabbinate, to improve its contact with and influence over the Israeli public at large.
“Sadly,” Stav said, “some elements are viewing us with a jaundiced eye and so they create a dispute between Tzohar and the chief rabbinate. We try our very best to avoid a division. We want there to be a chief rabbinate, but we must remember that the Haredim have no interest in the chief rabbinate, and neither do the secular. The only ones who are interested in it are the national religious, who are able to serve as a bridge between the secular and the religious.”
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, dean of the Ateret Kohanim yeshiva and the rabbi of the town of beit El has written: “Based on my many years’ acquaintance with Rabbi Stav Shlita, I support his candidacy for Chief Rabbi of Israel.”
In his letter, Rabbi Aviner notes that that Rabbi Stav is “a true scholar and a Torah giant,” and “has proven himself in great action on behalf of Torah and the nation.”
In conclusion, Rabbi Aviner writes that “Rabbi Stav understands the temperament of every person, National Religious or Haredi, secular and traditional, which is a dire need regarding the great vision of the chief rabbinate, that it belong to the entire nation.”
Rabbi Aharon Lichtenshtein, dean of the Har Etzion yeshiva, quotes Maimonides’ laws of the Sanhedrin which determine the prerequisite qualities of a member of the high court, from which Lichtenshtein deduces a fortiori that the task of finding a scholar befitting the role of chief rabbi is very difficult.
Rabbi Lichtenshtein concludes: “I view Rabbi Stav – out a deep and diverse personal acquaintance, as well as having worked together in several areas and on behalf of several communities – as most qualified to meet successfully the demands of this high office to the benefit of the public as a whole.”
Dean of Itamar yeshiva and former chief rabbi of the IDF Rabbi Avi Ronsky wrote: “I recommend Rabbi David Stav Shlita to the position of Israel’s chief rabbi. To begin with, Rabbi David is a scholar, an ordained rabbi and judge, serving as the rabbi of the town of Shoham and head of the Tzohar organization, known for its many good works among Israel’s multitudes to bring them closer to the Torah of Israel.
“I am certain that, with God’s help, Rabbi David with his pleasant demeanor will be able to forge anew reality in our nation, of respect and affection for Torah, and consequently a desire to know and keep it.”
An official at Tzohar said that these letters are but the tip of an iceberg in terms of the broad support Rabbi has been receiving from the entire spectrum of Israeli society: “We’ve been getting enormous support from religious Zionist rabbis, Haredi rabbis, top business people, and from the leaders of the Zionist parties who understand that the coming vote for the chief rabbinate is critical to the continuity of Jewish identity in the state of Israel, and if the chief rabbinate does not become the rabbinate of all of israel, including secular, traditional and religious, we’ll see the creation of two separate tribes who won’t share a common identity and culture.”
The election of the next chief rabbis will take place after the 19th Knesset is convened.