Chief Rabbi David Lau
Chief Rabbi David LauFLASH90

Israel's Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi blamed liberal Religious Zionist organizations for the Israeli public's eroding faith in the Rabbinate.

Writing in the Rabbinate's in-house magazine, Rabbi David Lau said that the organization he heads is under relentless attack from entities that are determined to "turn Israel into a state of all its citizens, focusing on a number of issues, one against the Zionist identity of the state and the other against its Jewish identity".

Lau added that "the first step is to change the status quo on religion that has been accepted until now, and especially to weaken the position of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, with the goal of separating religion from the state, turning the State of Israel into a state without any Jewish character".

Lau went on to blame assorted Religious Zionist groups for joining in the campaign "to convince the Israeli public that they have no need for the Rabbinate".

"Unfortunately, even bodies belonging to the liberal Religious Zionist stream are cooperating with the idea to weaken the Chief Rabbinate, to establish a communal rabbinate in which each community can choose a suitable rabbi, to establish a separate conversion system and independent courts," wrote the chief rabbi.

"Some of them even present their teachings openly, and claim to be the followers of Rabbi Kook. This also permeates the religious public," Lau continued. "Those who fight except for the position of the Chief Rabbinate use all means. And there is no lack of financial resources in their hands to fight and harm public opinion and to distance them from the Chief Rabbinate."

"The Chief Rabbinate is forced to fight against this trend, and at the Council's table, considerable issues were discussed in order to repel the aforementioned trend."

The Religious Zionist public has long been split regarding its view of the Chief Rabbinate. While some members of the community say that the entity needs to be strengthened, the more liberal Religious Zionist streams have long sought to create alternatives.

The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization, which provides religious services as an alternative to the state-run Rabbinate, launched of a new, independent kashrut supervision authority. The initiative came following Tzohar's popular marriage registration service, which sought to force the Rabbinate to become more user-friendly.