A legislative proposal that would have allowed Israeli chief rabbis to serve a second consecutive term was unexpectedly withdrawn by the Shas party, Arutz Sheva reported.
The turnabout came on Wednesday afternoon, just hours after the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee approved the so-called “Amar Law,” named after current Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shalom Moshe Amar. The law appeared to be on its way to being passed when it was suddenly dropped.
Shas Chairman MK Aryeh Deri gave as the reason for the decision a deal between Likud and the Jewish Home party, which became part of the Amar law, that would give its chairman, Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, greater power in the committee that selects chief rabbis.
According to an agreement reached between Jewish Home and the Likud, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Bennett would each select five of the ten rabbis who serve on the committee who are appointed by politicians. Bennett would also select the 10 non-rabbinical members who, along with the rabbis, choose the next chief rabbi. The electing body is comprised of 150 people.
Deri is opposed because he fears that doing so would increase the chances that Bennett’s candidate for Ashkenazic chief rabbi, Rabbi David Stav, will be chosen for the position. Many Rabbanim, including many of the National Religious sector, are against Rabbi Stav’s candidacy because he represents a liberalizing approach.
In any event, since Shas is the party which authored the Amar Law and placed it on the Knesset agenda, it is also entitled to remove it from the agenda, and by doing so has essentially voided it.