Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Named Cabinet Member; Vacant Cabinet Posts Filled

Tel Aviv’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Jacob M. Toledano was today named Minister of Religions in the Ben Gurion coalition government. Rabbi Toledano had been under pressure from at home and abroad not to accept the post.

The appointment of a non-party personality breaks a ten-year tradition which called for the Religions portfolio to be held by a member of the National Religious Party. Rabbi Toledano became the second Sephardic leader in the Cabinet; the other is Minister of Police Behor Shitreet.

Born at Tiberias, the 78 year-old Rabbi Toledano has served the rabbinates of Tangiers, Cairo and Alexandria, before returning to his homeland. He fills the post vacated by Dr. Moshe Shapira who, together with Dr. Joseph Burg, resigned from the Cabinet in the dispute over the right of an individual to identify himself as a Jew without recourse to rabbinical authority.

The Ministry of Posts and Telegraph portfolio vacated by Dr. Burg was handed to Israel Barzilai of the Mapam, who is also Minister of Health.

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