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Jerusalem Councilmen Call For Two Zionist Chief Rabbis

King and Shkedi opposed Mayor Barkat's 'deal' to balance Zionist rabbi with Shas hareidi candidate, call to seize 'one-time opportunity.'
By Ido Ben-Porat, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/21/2014, 11:08 AM

Aryeh King
Aryeh King
Public Relations

Jerusalem's plans to appoint two city Chief Rabbis after a ten year hiatus should put two religious Zionist rabbis in office, say Jerusalem Councilmen Shmuel Shkedi and Aryeh King of the United Jerusalem faction.

The two rejected the "deal" proposed by Mayor Nir Barkat's office, by which a Zionist Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi would be balanced with a hareidi Sephardic Chief Rabbi.

"This is a one-time opportunity to elect two Zionist rabbis to the capital city of the Jewish people and of the state of Israel," remarked the councilmen Friday morning.

In late February, Barkat announced a new election mechanism "to ensure the election of a Zionist rabbi who represents the populations of the city with respect, alongside a hareidi rabbi, as befitting a city in which 70% of the Jews are not hareidim."

However, King and Shkedi note that the election body has a decisive majority of Zionist members, leading them to reject Barkat's "deal" which would appoint a hareidi Chief Rabbi of the Shas party. The two already informed Barkat that "they will act for two Zionist Chief Rabbis."

"These will be rabbis who bring together the entire Jewish people, connecting various communities in Jerusalem in particular. We will work for the election of rabbis who in our opinion will be teachers of Halakha (Jewish law), accepted by the majority of the city's residents and rabbis, and who will give honor to the city they are appointed leaders of," remarked the two.

"Rabbis who won't give up an inch of Jerusalem"

The councilmen added that in addition to maintaining Jewish religious life in Jerusalem, they would back rabbis "that support participation in the burden from all sides, and that of course don't give 'Halachic' permission to giving up even an inch of Jerusalem" to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"Two candidates representing the hareidi public of Israel were chosen for the Chief Rabbinate of Israel; in Jerusalem we'll act for the election of two Zionist Chief Rabbis," declared King and Shkedi.

It is worth noting that Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau, who served in the IDF, has visited and supported Jews expelled from Gush Katif, visited religious Zionist institutions, and last Friday visited Sderot as it was bombarded by rockets from Gaza.