Chief Rabbi Gives In To Haredi Pressure

The Jerusalem Post’s Matthew Wagner confirms what we noted earlier:

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar caved in to pressure from haredi rabbis in Israel at the last minute and Thursday afternoon cancelled what was to be a ground-breaking conference on the issue of agunot, women who cannot remarry because they have been unable to obtain a divorce from their husbands.

Less than a week before the conference, Amar ordered Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Dahan, administrative head of the rabbinate’s court system, to send out e-mails to dozens of leading rabbis notifying them of the cancellation.

"We might have something small for Diaspora rabbis who have already arrived in Israel," said Ben-Dahan, "but the main conference was cancelled."

"I am disgusted and disappointed with Rabbi Amar," said Sharon Shenhav of the International Council of Jewish Women, an umbrella organization with members in 47 countries, who worked closely with Amar over the past two years to plan the conference, which was to take place in Jerusalem on November 7 and 8.

"We had agreed from the very beginning that women would not be present at the conference," said Shenhav. "The historic importance of the conference, which would have been the first of its kind, meant that we were willing to cooperate."…

Sources close to Amar said the demand to cancel came from Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, considered the most important living haredi Ashkenazi halachic authority.

Elyashiv and haredi rabbis and judges close to him oppose Amar’s push to institute prenuptial agreements that would make it easier to free agunot, said the sources. For halachic reasons Elyashiv opposes the use of such agreements, arguing that it is a type of coercion which makes the get or divorce certificate, invalid.

However, one source said that Amar had specifically received permission from Elyashiv to go ahead with the conference when planning first began two years ago. "I don’t know what happened all of a sudden," said the source.

A source close to Elyashiv said that the rabbi never opposed the conference. "He said, ‘I don’t have opinion either way, neither for or against," said the source.

This is Rabbi Elyashiv’s modus operandi: He tells a rabbi his position is A. Rabbi leaves Rabbi Elyashiv’s
home happy to hear that Rabbi Elyashiv supports him. Meanwhile, Rabbi Elyashiv immediately tells other rabbis who witnessed this what he "really" meant, a fine parsing of his words, which yield  the exact opposite of
what everyone had been led to believe. This is what he in effect did to Rabbi Amar.

And Rabbi Elyashiv has also done the following:

1. Backed Yona Metzger, a disgraced theif who extorted money from
couples under their huppas, a man who is unable to sit on a rabbinic
court because he is not qualified, for chief rabbi. He did so to block
a zionist rabbi, highly qualified, from the post. And he knew about Metzger’s past when he did so.

2. Led the abusive and unethical attacks against Rabbi Natan
Slifkin. Labeled the man a heritic and his works heresy, then
‘recanted’ a bit, said they weren’t heritacl but "should not be read,"
but still left his signatiure on proclimations calling the books
heritical. He also refused to meet with Slifkin.

3. Is behind the haredization of conversion standards worldwide and the original push to exclude the RCA.

4. Called on Jews everywhere to do metzitza b’peh and disregard any
claimed risk. He has also worked to attack and curtail rabbis who
encourage use of a tube or a sponge to do MBP.

5. Regularly uses thuggish, mafia-like tactics to get his way.

This is the leader of non-hasidic haredi Jewry. His word is final. He is their paradigm of "da’as Torah." And, by the way, Rabbi Amar is haredi.

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2 Comments

Filed under Haredim, Israel, Jewish Leadership

2 responses to “Chief Rabbi Gives In To Haredi Pressure

  1. Garnel Ironheart

    The real problem is that there is no religious counter-weight to the chareidi leadership in Israel or the Jewish world today. Consider what the Chief Rabbinate should be – the religious central authority of the Jews of Israel and, by extension, the world. It should be centrist enough to encompass all Torah-valid points of view, both traditional and modern, leading to the synthesis of a devout, yet inclusive Judaism. Instead, for political reasons, it has become a lackey of the chareidim.
    As you noted, this is not the first time the chareidim have acted as the unofficial masters of the Jewish world and decided what is right and wrong for all of us. There are two responses. One is to declare all religious Jews hypocrites and drop out of the Torah world. That’s fine, and it leads to lots of blogs these days, but it’s also the easy way out. What about staying in and fighting the coercion? The institutions are already there. Mizrachi does not kow-tow to the Eidah Chareidit (and frequently gets slagged by said group for that). It believes in the State of Israel as a valid entity and not just a source of money for its yeshivos. What aren’t the Chief Rabbis of Israel wearing serugot? Why aren’t they issuing psak’s that are “incumbent” on the entire Jewish population? Why aren’t they standing up to the Chareidim and saying there isn’t just one way to practice Judaism al pi halacha and we’re prepared to debate you on it on your own terms and win?
    In the end, that is what must happen to restore sanity to the Jewish religious world.

  2. Sad

    I am so sad for the entrapped women, who are just pawns in our distorted society. I just hope that one day they will be able to go all the way (no double meaning intended) through the field and get the treatment they deserve, that of a queen.

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