Rabbi David Lau
Rabbi David Lau Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Davi Lau on Monday criticized the current government for strong-arming through legislation harming the Jewish status of the country without - or against - the counsel of the Chief Rabbinate, the official governmental body ruling in such issues.

Speaking at a Chief Rabbinate Council meeting in Jerusalem that dealt with a myriad of religious issues including Shabbat, Kashrut (dietary laws) and the connection with Judaism in the disapora, Rabbi Lau - who serves as president of the Council - said the current election campaigning can not be ignored in the religious context.

"In the last two years since the government was established a process has been held which mainly included legislation that tried to harm the Jewish values in general, and the Chief Rabbinate and its authority in particular," said Rabbi Lau. "Unfortunately this was so for every matter of holiness, starting from the field of Kashrut, conversion, marriage, Shabbat and every holy thing."

Rabbi Lau's comments refer to a slew of controversial legislature passed by members of the last coalition including marriage laws, conversion laws the rabbi warned would invalidate conversions, a law to make there be only one chief rabbi instead of two, a law giving a tax break to same sex couples, and even bills to undermine Shabbat observance and institute same sex marriage.

"We hope that the next government will change this reality and the path in which it is acting, and work with full cooperation with the Chief Rabbinate on all issues of Judaism and the state," continued Rabbi Lau.

The rabbi expressed his hope that bills on religious issues "will not reach the table of the government for reform but rather will first come to the Chief Rabbinate, which is the official body in the country for these topics, and we hope the next government will cooperate for the good of the public."

"Unfortunately there were other instances where they said we'll first of all present a bill and fix it in committees, and afterwards we saw what happened, and we pray the next government will know to counsel with the rabbinate on these topics," concluded Rabbi Lau, noting on broken promises to consult with the rabbinate after presenting bills that were not honored.