Deputy Religions Minister, Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Dahan, voiced his disappointment with the failure of religious Zionist candidates to be elected to the posts of chief rabbis Wednesday. Rabbi Ben Dahan is a member of the religious Zionist party, Bayit Yehudi.
"As a member of the Bayit Yehudi I am certainly disappointed that we failed in the mission to at least have one rabbi from the religious Zionist camp elected,” he said. “We put in the maximal effort possible but regrettably, it failed.”
The rabbi added that he hopes the secular public will not “give a kick to the institution of the Rabbinate” out of disappointment with the hareidi candidates elected. “They need to understand that the importance of the institution of the Rabbinate is much more important than the chief rabbis.”
Bayit Yehudi Chairman, Naftali Bennett, congratulated Rabbi David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef for their victories Wednesday.
"The present election campaign made clear that there is a need for deep changes in the institution of the Rabbinate,” the minister said, “and we have begun to take action in this direction in the last few months.”
"The elected rabbis will be part of a revolution that the Bayit Yehudi is leading in the Religions Ministry,” he explained. This revolution includes reducing the size of religious councils and the cancellation of political appointments in the councils, he explained – and promised that the next time that elections for chief rabbi are held – Israel will only have one chief rabbi, “just as there is one chןef of staff and one president.”
Deputy Minister of Transport, religious Zionist Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), said that the religious Zionist stream “once again missed the opportunity to put in place a Zionist chief rabbi."
“I regret that the campaign of harsh mudlinging against Rabbi David Stav – Chairman of the Tzohar Rabbis, who has indisputably shown wonderful public Torah work – came from within religious Zionism itself,” she accused.