Israel Court Upholds Nominations Board for Rabbinate Elections

The Supreme Court today upheld the validity of the composition of the nominations board for the elections to the Chief Rabbinate, The court held that five members of the eight-man board constituted a quorum and that there was no need to replace the three members who resigned at the request of the Supreme Rabbinical Council.

Five Supreme Court Justices headed by Chief Justice Yitzhak Olshan, had reviewed a decision of a three-Justice panel which upheld the validity of the board by a majority vote but agreed to refer the case to the five-man court. The validity of the nominations board was challenged on the grounds that three of the members appointed by the Supreme Rabbinical Council had resigned and the fourth–Rabbi Amram Aburavia, whose appointment was revoked by the Council–had been replaced. The other four members of the board were appointed by the Ministry for Religious Affairs.

The court ruled that the Rabbinical Council was not empowered to dismiss Rabbi Aburavia and that the resignations of three of the members had no force, thus enabling the existing board to proceed with preparations for the elections due to be held Oct. 22.

There is no inclination in the Cabinet to prolong the tenure of the Chief Rabbinate beyond the October 21 expiration date, authoritative government circles reported tonight. They revealed that the Cabinet approved today the list of communities which will send 28 lay delegates to the 70-man electoral college. This body will finally choose one Sephardi Chief Rabbi, presumably Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim again, and one Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi to succeed the late Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog.

The Cabinet eliminated several communities from the list prepared by Rabbi Yaacov Toledano, Minister for Religious Affairs and added others. Half of the 28 community electors will be Ashkenazim and half of them Sephardim.

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