Israel’s most revered Sephardi rabbi has caused uproar by declaring that a moderate candidate for the chief rabbinate is an “evil man”.
Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Charedi political party Shas and former chief rabbi, said during a lecture that David Stav “is dangerous to Judaism, the Torah and the rabbinate”. Subsequently, some Charedi men harassed Rabbi Stav at a wedding.
Rabbi Stav is a modern-Orthodox city rabbi who is running to become Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi in this summer’s elections. His declared aim is to weaken Charedi power in the rabbinate.
Rabbi Yosef charged that electing Rabbi Stav would be like “bringing idolatry into the holy Temple”.
Asked for a response for this article, Rabbi Stav said: “I am deeply saddened by unfortunate discord surrounding the race for the chief rabbinate, especially since it is taking place at this time of year when we commemorate the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. The Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred among the Jewish people.”