JERUSALEM (Jul. 19)
A committee of the Mapai and the National Religious party reached agreement today on the composition of an electoral college to make possible elections to the Chief Rabbinate which have been deadlocked for two years.
Because of the deadlock, no successor was chosen to the late Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi, Isaac Halevi Herzog. The Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Yitzhak Nissim, has continued in that post on an interim appointment.
Under the agreement, a 120-man panel of 70 rabbis and 50 lay officials will form the electoral college, and the eight-man committee which formerly appointed the electors for the Chief Rabbinate will be abolished. Still to be determined is whether the rabbinical members will be chosen geographically or from a national list and whether voting should be conducted separately among the Ashkenazic and Sephardic groups.
The revised procedure does not change the custom of two Chief Rabbis. At the current rate of negotiations, observers said it would take at least six months before the long-delayed elections could be held. The new formula is a compromise between Mapai demands for 50-50 representation of rabbis and laymen on the panel and the Religious party proposal that two-thirds be rabbis.