Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Israel’s Two Chief Rabbis to End Their Terms in Office This Month

March 9, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Knesset voted 47-40 last night to reject a government-sponsored bill that would have deferred the Chief Rabbinate elections scheduled to be held March 15. Defeat of the measure, despite intensive lobbying on its behalf by Premier Menachem Begin, means that Shlomo Goren and Ovadia Yosef, the Ashkenazic and Sephardic Chief Rabbis, respectively, will end their terms later this month.

The present law limits the Chief Rabbis to one 10-year term. Goren and Yosef were elected in 1972. Efforts by the Chief Rabbinate Council to have the law amended so that they could stand for re-election failed.

Defeat of the government’s bill was attributed to large scale absenteeism by Knesset members of Likud’s Liberal Party bloc who apparently stayed away deliberately. Meanwhile, Shlomo Eliahu, a member of the Sephardi Supreme Rabbinical Court, announced he is running to replace Yosef. A prominent Ashkenazic rabbi from Tel Aviv, Yitzhak Kolitz, is expected to run for Goren’s office.

Recommended from JTA