Ethiopian chief rabbi in Israel to stay in post following reports of forced retirement


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel said it would extend the contract of the Ethiopian community’s chief rabbi by six months a day after reports that he would be forced into retirement.

The Religious Affairs Ministry’s CEO, Oded Fluss, wrote to Rabbi Yosef Hadane telling him that his three-decades long tenure would continue until February at the request of Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulay, Army Radio reported Tuesday. Hadane’s contract had been set to expire at the end of July.

The extension is to ensure uninterrupted service to the Ethiopian community, Fluss reportedly wrote.

Army Radio first reported on Monday, citing unnamed senior officials in the Religious Affairs Ministry, that the decision not to extend Hadane’s service came in response to his criticism of racial discrimination by the Chief Rabbinate against Israelis of Ethiopian descent, in particular his protest of their difficulties in registering for marriage in Petach Tikvah.

Hadane will be 67, the mandatory retirement age, next month. However, other rabbis have been granted automatic extensions once they reach retirement age.

His forced retirement reportedly was announced by the ministry without first discussing it with him, according to Army Radio.

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