'Netanyahu does not consult religious Zionist rabbis'

Yesh Atid MK says PM only turns to national religious rabbis when he needs support, but ignores them at all other times.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

MK Elazar Stern
MK Elazar Stern
Photo: Miriam Alster, Flash 90

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following the prime minister's meeting with a delegation of national religious rabbis Tuesday.

"When the government needs approval in light of police investigations he calls the rabbis of religious Zionism, but when he needs [guidance on the issues of] kashrut, Shabbat, Judaism, and the rabbinate, he does not consult with them," MK Stern said.

"In all issues which are close to our hearts as religious Zionists, time and again for years, the prime minister has not consulted or acted according to the rulings of the rabbis of Shoham, Gush Etzion and Eli, but went along with the haredi politicians and those who direct them from the offices of the rabbis in Bnei Brak and in Jerusalem.

Stern added, "Netanyahu does not consult [religious Zionists] on the appointment of judges, the state's attitude toward Judaism and Jewish tradition, the transformation of the kashrut system into a haredi monopoly controlled by people who do not believe in the state, the monopoly of haredi rabbis on marriage and divorce, and on the nature of Shabbat in the State of Israel. On all these issues, the prime minister chose not to invite the rabbis of religious Zionism to his office, but to Deri and Liberman, according to whom he would speak."

The two Chief Rabbis have been from the haredi sector for the last two decade-long terrms of office, meaning that kashrut and marriage and divorce are under their jurisdiction.

"A few years ago, when there was a chance that a religious Zionist chief rabbi would be elected to the State of Israel. The prime minister acted behind the scenes to torpedo the appointment," he said. Stern was referring to the candidacy of Rabbi David Lau, the current Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, whom the Prime Minister allegedly helped by influencing Likud mayors who are part of the voting body, leading to the defeat of Rabbi David Stav of the rellgious Zionist Tzohar Rabbinic Organization.

"The responsibility for this is, of course, also Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett's. [Bennett] only recently announced that he is distancing himself from dealing with issues of religion and state, so that even he who defines himself as the political leader of religious Zionism is also held captive by the prime minister."