Rabbi Grossman, President Peres, soldiers and
Rabbi Grossman, President Peres, soldiers and Israel news photo: Flash 90

Migdal HaEmek Chief Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman has announced he will not run for the position of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel.

One of the leading hareidi-religious candidates for the position, Rabbi Grossman made the announcement Monday morning in Migdal HaEmek, near Haifa.

He has built a wide reputation for transforming lives in the northern city over the decades since he first came to live in what once was a small town known for more for its conflicts between immigrant populations than for its beauty. He is founding head of the Migdal Ohr educational institutions.

The popular rabbi has been told by many he had a good chance of winning the complex election, but was advised not to run by a number of great rabbis, he said.

There are several other remaining candidates in the election for Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the country.

One is Rabbi David Stav, head of the Tzohar rabbinical organization based in Gush Etzion and known for heading the Tzohar organization, aimed at making religious laws user-friendly to the secular. Another is hareidi Rabbi David Lau, rabbi of Modi'in and son of former Israel Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. Two other religious Zionist candidates are Rabbinic Court Judge and rabbi of Kfar Maimon, Rabbi Eliezer Igra and Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, head of the flagship Zionist Merkaz Harav Kook Yeshiva in Jerusalem and son of the former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, the late Avraham Shapira.

Pundits said it is possible that Rabbi Grossman also has reconsidered his position due to the government investigation being pressed against Israel’s present Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi, Yona Metzger.

After recently being questioned by National Fraud Unit police  on suspicion of corruption linked to hotel visits, Rabbi Metzger has temporarily suspended himself from his position as a dayan (rabbinical judge) on the top Rabbinical Court of Jewish law. 

Until the conclusion of the police investigation, Rabbi Metzger also said he will not participate in meetings of the Chief Rabbinical Council, nor will he participate in meetings for the selection of Rabbinic Court judges. The chief rabbi has denied the allegations against him and expressed the hope the investigation would be quickly concluded.

The Jerusalem District Court partially approved, Sunday, the appeal of three men arrested on suspicion of corruption charges in connection with the rabbi’s case.  The court reportedly approved extension of the remand of all three men extended until Tuesday, and not as determined by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court. One of the three is an aide and chauffeur to Rabbi Metzger. The other two head non-profit organizations.

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