Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot
Israel's Chief Sephardi Rabbi Ha'Rishon LeZion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, Nov. 13, 2021.

Israel’s Chief Sephardi Rabbi Ha’Rishon LeZion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, on Saturday night dedicated his weekly lesson to warning against Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana’s Kashrut reform. He also attacked Rabbi David Stav, the head of Tzohar and the rabbi of Shoham.

On the initiative to appoint women to be kashrut supervisors, Rabbi Yosef said: “They want to bring in women to be kashrut supervisors, how is that possible? A secular, non-religious woman, religious ones, too, does that constitute modesty in Israel? Where is the modesty? In particular when you bring in any available women. In the army, too, all kinds of women who are not religious will be brought in and be considered trustworthy.”


Rabbi Yosef opened his class saying: “The new kashrut law they made is terrible. Today the Chief Rabbinate oversees everything, we have a kashrut supervisor everywhere, there’s a kashrut fraud department. It is possible to give fines, it’s a very active department.” And to support his point, Rabbi Yosef said, “One of the heads of this department was once beaten up after catching someone who lied.”

Rabbi Yosef went on to say: “Today when they opened up this matter, do they know what cooking by a gentile means? They want to give certifications to stores that are open on Shabbat, God forbid, this is a very serious loophole, how can you trust them?”

The Chief Rabbi then attacked Rabbi Stav, citing his father, the late Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who said that Rabbi Stav did not have fear of Heaven.

He then pivoted back to Minister Kahana, saying: “This pilot is coming, he keeps flying, doing things, what insolence, what lack of respect. Where have we seen such a thing, that they would do things against the chief rabbis?”

Well, Minister Kahana (Yamina) is laboring to replace both Haredi Chief Rabbis with Religious Zionist ones who will probably maintain a more restrained decorum in public and be part of the public that the Chief Rabbinate serves: non-Haredi Jews.

But there’s a wrinkle: Minister Kahana is looking to change the outcome of the next vote on appointing new chief rabbis by expanding the electing body to include Judea and Samaria rabbis. But according to a Sunday report by B’Hadrei Haredim, Meretz, which is Yamina’s coalition partner, is refusing to endorse a bill that would recognize a connection between “green line” Israel and the “occupied territories.”

Oops. And so it appears that Haredi rule over the Chief Rabbinate will be facilitated with the support of the most anti-Haredi faction in the Knesset. Even if Kahana gets his bill through the Government’s Legislation Committee, with only 61 coalition votes, five of whom would abstain or even vote against, the bill would be dead on arrival.

Thank you, Meretz…


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