Rabbi Gershon Edelstein
Rabbi Gershon Edelstein Photo by Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

The president of the Council of Torah Scholars of the Degel HaTorah party, Lithuanian haredi leader Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, refused to sign the rabbis' letter against Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana.

The letter from haredi rabbis was issued ahead of the conference of support for the Chief Rabbinate that will be held tonight at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

Zvi Cohen, a spokesman for Rabbi Edelstein, said: "The rabbi was not against the conference tonight at all. On the contrary, the rabbi acted to take care of the organization and financing of the conference. The reason is that the rabbi did not issue official support because he wanted a state event and not for it to be presented as a kind of united religious front of the haredim and national religious together, as throughout their history, the haredim have refrained from presenting such a religious front on the orders of the great sages of Israel."

In light of the reforms to conversion and kosher supervision being promoted by Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana (Yamina), a mass rally of Israel's rabbis, led by the Chief Rabbis of Israel, is scheduled tonight at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

The rally will be led by the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.

During the rally, those present will protest against both the specific reforms being advanced and the weakening of the Chief Rabbinate's standing in Israel.

In a special letter issued by the organizers, the rabbis were told that this was an emergency and everything must be done to maintain the position of the Torah and Jewish law. The rabbis say that if the reforms pass, it will divide the people in two, and that it is a disaster and a shattering of the Jewish heritage of Israel.