Ombudsman: Remove Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef's status as judge

Former Supreme Court Justice Uri Shoham tells Religious Affairs Minister Chief Rabbi Yosef's opposition to kashrut reforms has gone too far.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Following statements by Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef against Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana's proposed kashrut reforms, Ombudsman of the Israeli Judiciary and former Supreme Court Justice Uri Shoham called on Minister Kahana to summon Rabbi Yosef for a reprimand and to even consider removing him from his position as a halakhic judge.

In his remarks, he attacked the participation of halakhic judges in a recent conference against the reform of the kashrut system and wrote that "things should be clarified and the judges should be instructed not to take part in any conference, meeting or assembly, which raise issues of political controversy."

"This is especially so when there is a fear that at the end of that conference a notice will be published bearing the names and titles of the judges as those who agree with the decisions made at that conference.

He further wrote that "it is not possible to carry this decision without referring to the conduct of the Dayan (halakhic judge) Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef - Rishon LeZion, who did not bother to respond to our inquiries."

"From the material before us, it appears that the members of his bureau invited the rabbis to attend the conference in question, which raised controversial issues, and he also published positions attacking reforms promoted by the Religious Affairs Minister and the Israeli government. As stated, this was a mistake, since they believed that if it was a conference on behalf of the Chief Rabbinate there would be no impediment to their participation, and they probably did not assume that a notice would be published on the controversial issues, bearing their name and title.

In his remarks he called for considering the dismissal of Rabbi Yosef. "Following his remarks and the harsh remarks of the dayan towards the judiciary in general and the Supreme Court in particular, we recommended to the Religious Affairs Minister that the selection committee be convened soon, and decide whether Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef should continue in his role as a judge in the Great Rabbinical Court."

"We see that not only did the dayan not internalize what was said in previous decisions of the commission, but it is clear that he continues on his way, even though he continues to serve as a dayan in the Great Rabbinical Court, and this time he even caused his fellow members to errs, as described above."

MK Michael Malkieli (Shas) said in response that "the decision of the Ombudsman to summon Rishon Lezion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, to a hearing, is a national day of mourning that will be remembered for generations - this is a serious injury to all traditional Israelis. Things we heard about only in dark countries and regimes and no one dreamed would happen in the Jewish state. All the people of Israel as one person must come to the hearing and mourn the pain of the severe injury to Maran."

MK Uriel Buso (Shas) said "there is no limit to this disgrace. The Ombudsman who is supposed to maintain stateliness, has also turned to the anti-side and decides to change the order of the world, and to ban the Rishon Lezion, who is the legally elected halachic supreme authority, and who has dealt with all matters of religion from the day of the founding of the Chief Rabbinate,"

"Minister Kahana is not educated to understand that in the end he is an official who is trying to shut mouths illegally and immorally. Judaism and the rabbinate are far beyond the seasonal reforms of the Yamina and the Reform movement's members in the current government."