Michael Malkieli
Michael MalkieliFlash 90, Arutz 7

Religious Affairs Minister Michael Malkieli spoke with Israel National News - Arutz Sheva ahead of the elections for the Chief Rabbinate.

Malkieli's party, Shas, has not yet decided which candidate to support.

According to Malkieli, the elections are expected to be delayed for two reasons: The first reason is that the Ministry received letters of complaint regarding issues of representation.

"The electing body is comprised of rabbis and representatives of religious councils," he explained. "There are cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa which do not have a chief rabbi, nor do they have a religious council." In this fashion, a situation is sometimes created in which small cities are represented in a council, but larger cities do not have such representation.

The second reason for delaying the elections is that the original date is too close to the date for municipal elections, and this is liable to harm the purity of the elections.

"I will not cast aspersions on rabbis or on someone else of their choosing, but it is clear that the proximity may lead to things which we do not want to see," he said.

Malkieli succeeded MK Matan Kahana to the office, after Kahana's short term aroused broad opposition from a large number of bodies, due to the reforms instituted during his time in office.

"What Kahana did crushed the status of the religious councils and led to a situation in which kosher supervision may reach a much lower level," Malkieli explained.

"I am the rabbis' clerk; I did not come to manage them," he emphasized.

Malkieli, who canceled large portions of Kahana's reform, added that, "The kosher supervision system in the State of Israel required improvement even before Matan Kahana." Malkieli also said that he "prayed" he would finish his own reform "as quickly as possible, and offer a plan which will be acceptable to all parties."