Ten rabbis have submitted their candidacy for the positions of Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, with the decision due to be made on August 14 by an 150-member election committee.
Four of those in the running are sons of former chief rabbis.
The final list of candidates who submitted their entries by the Wednesday deadline is as follows:
Sephardi chief rabbi
Rabbi Shlomo Zion Boaron, 68 and father of nine, is considered a friend of the reigning Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar.
Born in Libya, Boaron came to Israel at the age of 4 and received his rabbinic ordination from former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party. However, Yosef is said to prefer his own son’s candidacy to Boaron’s.
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, 61, is the elder Rabbi Yosef’s sixth son. In the past he’s served as a rabbi for several communities on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the current rabbi of Safed, is the son of another former chief rabbi, the late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, and is considered a member of the national religious camp.
Eliyahu’s candidacy is being challenged in the Supreme Court over allegedly racist statements he made in the past.
Rabbi Yehuda Deri, 55, the brother of charismatic Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri, may yet abandon his candidacy in order to make way for Yosef. He has been the rabbi of Beersheba since 1997.
Rabbi Ratzon Arusi was born in Yemen and studied in a yeshiva in Jerusalem. He holds a doctorate in law from Tel Aviv University and received his rabbinic ordination from, among others, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. For the past 30 years he has been the rabbi of the town of Kiryat Ono and lectures in universities on Jewish law.
Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel, 65, is known to support the separation of politics and religion. He currently heads a yeshiva in Jerusalem and is the rabbi of a neighborhood in the capital.
Ashkenazi chief rabbi
Rabbi David Stav, 53, considered relatively liberal in his approach, has made cutting through bureaucracy in the rabbinate a goal should he succeed in his campaign. Born in Jerusalem, Stav spent two years as a community rabbi in Antwerp and since 2009 has been the rabbi of Shoham. His candidacy has generated fierce opposition from the ultra-Orthodox community.
Rabbi David Lau, the 47-year-old son of former Ashkenazi chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, was born in Tel Aviv. Like Stav, he served as rabbi of Shoham for several years. He is the rabbi of the city of Modiin.
Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, 63, who comes from a more ultra-Orthodox background, has not gained much public support for his candidacy. He is the son for former Ashkenazi chief rabbi Avraham Shapira, and he took over as head of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem after his father died.
Rabbi Eliezer Igra, 59, considered by pundits to have the smallest chance of winning, was born in Jerusalem and is from the national religious camp. Since 1999, Igra has headed a rabbinical court in the southern region and in 2012 he was appointed to the high rabbinical court in Jerusalem.
The new chief rabbis will replace rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar, the current Ashkenazi and Sephardic chief rabbis, respectively.
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