Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Halavi
Rabbi Meir Kahana (not THAT one)

Rabbi Meir Kahana has been chosen by the National Religious Movement to be its candidate for the next Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel in the elections slated to take place after November 1, following municipal elections on October 31.

A Sephardic Chief Rabbi will also be elected at that time, by the 150-member council of rabbis and local Chief Rabbinate representatives.


Rabbi Kahana (not the Rabbi Meir Kahane you’re all thinking of), born in Bat Yam, currently a rabbinical judge in Ashkelon, also holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the IDF reserves, and was a former paratroop company commander. The rabbi, who is age 54, is married to Bruria, a gynecologist. The couple are parents to five children.

His selection on Sunday was termed a “surprise” by the Makor Rishon newspaper, which reported the likely candidate to be Rabbi Micha Halevi of Petach Tikvah.

But it was Rabbi Kahana who was chosen by the committee of 35 religious Zionist rabbinic leaders during a conference held at Ramot Shapira, near Jerusalem.

Religious Zionism party chairman and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich congratulated Rabbi Kahana on his election as the movement’s candidate for Chief Rabbi, despite having backed Halevi.

“Rabbi Kahana was chosen by a committee comprised of unified representatives from all the Batei Midrash and the full diversity of the national religious community,” Smotrich said.

“I have every hope that the great unity effected today in the committee will continue and strengthen, with God’s help,” he added.

The Haredi parties are now unhappy, as they feel Rabbi Kahana is too “liberal” so they have decided they will put forward their own candidate, despite the coalition agreements that the next Ashkenazi chief rabbi will be from the Religious-Zionist sector.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.