JERUSALEM (Feb. 1)
The National Religious Party and the Labor Alignment were seeking a formula today to advance the candidacy of Tel Aviv’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren for the post of Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel. Their problem appears to be not to offend the incumbent, Chief Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman who is 86 years old. The coalition partners reportedly are considering offering him the post of honorary president of the Chief Rabbinate Council, which is the Rabbinical Supreme Court.
The office of president of the Council is barred to Unterman because of the statutory age limit of 75. It is a stepping stone to the Chief Rabbinate and the name of Rabbi Goren has been suggested to fill it.
Rabbi Goren, who is 55 years old, was formerly Chief Chaplain of Israel’s armed forces and holds the rank of general, denied emphatically today that he was a candidate for the presidency of the rabbinical high court. He said no such suggestion has been made to him and if it was he would have rejected it. The legal term of the present Chief Rabbinate Council expired last night.
Elections for a new Chief Rabbi were due more than two years ago but were postponed repeatedly because the NRP, under pressure from various rabbis, refused to agree to the imposition of a statutory age limit. Meanwhile, Rabbi Unterman will go to Italy next Monday to attend a rabbinical congress. His office announced today that he would participate in the dedication ceremonies of an Israeli Torah scroll to be presented to a synagogue in Milan.