Arafat vs. Chief Rabbis


On July 23, 2013, the candidates to Israel’s Chief Rabbi woke up with a surprise. Advocate Loei Arafat, from Nazareth Illit*, sent a letter to the Attorney General of Israel** complaining on one of the candidates and demanding to know the Attorney General position on the racist words of the candidate. He also demanded this position to be imposed on the other candidates.

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Advocate Loei Arafat
Blood Brothers: The Dramatic Story of a Palestinian Christian Working for Peace in Israel

This was wise; he put the Attorney General between a rock and a hard place. He must decide between accepting racism and declaring most candidacies illegitimate.
Afterwards, still early in the morning, he sent a copy of the letter to settler Channel 7, in order to sweeten the prominent rabbis’ first cup of coffee. Days after it was disclosed that only four out of the ten candidates had completed their rabbinical studies, this was a calamity.

Advocate Loei Arafat Letter

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A Day Late and a Dollar Short
On March 24, 2013, expired the term of the current Chief Rabbis. The delayed elections are scheduled for July 24, but following the recent events, they may be delayed again.
The election of Chief Rabbis is not a public event; it takes place within the secretive corridors of the Ministry of Religious Services and the Rabbinate. Until now, both posts (Ashkenazi and Sephardic) were occupied exclusively by Ultra-Orthodox Haredi rabbis.
The delay and the dirty war we are witnessing may be the result of Netanyahu’s new coalition attempt to change the Haredi dominance. Haredim are not in the new coalition. A key partner of the current government is the Jewish Home, the settlers’ Religious Zionist party.+ One of their goals is to create a substantial change in the Chief Rabbinate structure by placing at the top a non-Ultra-Orthodox candidate.++
After their candidate reached the final stage without real chances of winning the post, they started a smearing campaign against the Ultra-Orthodox candidates. In its final step, they got unexpected help from Mr. Arafat.
Inherent Racism

Shmuel Eliyahu
We Belong to the Land: The Story of a Palestinian Israeli Who Lives for Peace & Reconciliation

The rabbinical elections have sent the Jewish communities in the Holy Land back to Babylon, but not to the one they yearn for. Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70AD, there cannot be a single Jewish authority; instead, every congregation leads its own affairs, sometimes creating Chief Rabbis representing it towards national institutions. The State of Israel attempted to change that.
A fake society can’t create anything but a fake sense of unity; after its incomplete foundation, the State of Israel created the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which is defined by law as the Halakhic (Jewish law, parallel to Muslim Sharia) authority for the Jewish people in Israel.
The institution is in charge of personal status issues, like marriages, divorces, burials, conversion to Judaism and other more esoteric issues like kosher certification. It is divided into Ashkenazi and Sephardic sections. This division was imposed by the secular authorities of the State of Israel and is the source of the urban legends abounding on the topic.
It is impossible to divide Judaism only in these two categories. Mountain Jews, Yemenite Jews, Iraqi Jews belong to their own liturgical groups. In the Netherlands, there is a large concentration of Sephardic Jews (the Haredi professor described in The Cross of Bethlehem was born to such parents). There is a clear division between European and Russian congregations. A plethora of hidden subdivisions.
Yet, the State divided the complex situation according to just the two leading liturgical traditions. By mixing up different traditions, it unwillingly reenacted the Tower of Babel: “let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech“—Genesis 11:7. Congregations were assigned to one of the two rabbinate’s sections according to a geographical reasoning. To their astonishment, Yemenites and Mountain Jews found themselves classified as Sephardic (“Spaniards” in Hebrew) while they are utterly disinterested to know even where Spain is. Cyprus is not too shabby for their vacations.
In all synagogues, services are conducted in Hebrew, but intonations and chanting vary. Yet, humanists invariably claim to possess the ultimate truth; please don’t argue with them because they are violent. The State of Israel divides in two because it wants to, it is easier for them to run the country; that’s it, shut up.
This weird organization of religion by the State is the basis for the current situation. Recently, a rabbi accused of bribery was appointed Head of Jerusalem Rabbinical Court, a rabbi laid down the religious basis for an attack on Syria, and for a while, Israel’s Sports Ministry acquired authority for nominating rabbis. I described other atrocities in Monster Rabbi and other articles.
Israel’s religious authorities are subjugated to a secular organization, the Ministry of Religious Services. As a consequence, rabbis are tempted to ignore moral behavior; after all, humanist government ministries judge events according to financial considerations; in their eyes, “good” and “evil” are nonsense.
Nasty Nepotism
Luckily, one doesn’t need to understand what good is to become a rabbi. Government approval stamps are available for $1 at the nearest street market. Alternatively, you can be born to right father. Unlike the retroactive laws& favored by Israel, this one is tricky to perform.
Four candidates are sons of former chief rabbis (Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi David Lau, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Rabbi Yaakov Shapira). Three of them received their rabbinical certificate at the time their fathers headed the system supervising the ordination$ and were exempted of exams.
Allow me to skip a detailed list of the candidates’ cheap virtues, and reach the crux of the matter.
Arafat vs. Eliyahu
Veteran readers of this site may remember Shmuel Eliyahu from an article named Racist Rabbis. As City Rabbi of Tzfat, he issued a decree instructing residents not to rent rooms or houses to Palestinian Israelis. The last are full citizens of the State of Israel.
Subsequently, posters appeared all over the town, saying: “Don’t rent rooms to Arabs. Don’t give work to Arabs. Don’t give Arabs any foothold in our community.” Jews renting rooms to Palestinians with Israeli citizenship got telephonic threats. One such a case was of Eliyahu Zvieli (then 89, survivor of WWII) who rented rooms to three Palestinian students. He reported “People have called the house and threatened to attack, they said they would burn it down if we don’t leave.”
Advocate Arafat mentioned that and asked the Attorney General to check out other racist decrees by the Eliyahu. “Can a racist be Chief Rabbi?” is Arafat’s question. In the letter reproduced above, he quotes:
5. (on marriages)… “goy with goy and Jew only with Jew” …
6. … (a man listening) … “should not hear a known woman singing” …
7. … “food cooked by a goy is forbidden… even if cooked in the house of Israel with kosher ingredients… it is AKUM% cooking”
8. … “the wine of Christians is forbidden for joy (drinking). It is forbidden even for touch, or even to be given as a gift to other goy. It should be thrown to the toilet.”
If accepting the claim, the Attorney General can thwart the nomination of such candidate by beginning a legal process against the racist. If rejecting the claim, he will prove that the State of Israel is openly racist. If Eliyahu falls, other candidates will fall with him. Bravo, Arafat!
Fanatic Humanism’s Boomerang
Truth is simple. When the rabbinical system recognized the authority of the State to get involved in its internal issues it became nothing but a servant of Humanism Fanatics organized as a Westphalian state with a Walsingham-style surveillance system. They can’t be faithful to God in such hostile environment. Yet, they don’t care, State certificates are cheap.
There can be neither compromise nor solution to this conflict. Simply, no state can impose religion upon its citizens, this is a private issue between each one of them and God. Israel is trying to impose not only this, but also the specific worshipping ways allowed to every person. It tries to impose the way one will be received into this world (including forcing mutilations), the way one will marry and with whom, and the way one should be buried. These are not roles of the State. The Humanist states imposed these days on people are nothing but unintelligible Towers of Babel set to fall into the deep waters of eternal oblivion.
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* Nazareth Illit—Upper Jerusalem in Hebrew—is the Jewish settlement next to Nazareth. It often reaches headlines due to its awful treatment of Palestinians, see Jewish Mayor: I’ve been called “Fascist, Thug, Racist”
** Attorney General of Israel (HaYoetz HaMishpati LaMemshala, literally The Legal Advisor to the Government) is the head of the executive branch legal system.
+ Likud and Labor are nationalistic and secular parties. Haredi parties are religious and non-nationalistic or slightly nationalistic. For many years, the National Religious Party was the bridge allowing the unholy alliance between Zionism and ultra-Orthodox Judaism. Their most visible characteristic is a “Kipah Sruga” (handwoven skullcap) in contrast to the black skullcap used by the Haredim and Hasidim. In 2009, the party was dissolved, and most of its former members created The Jewish Home. In the 2013 elections, it got 12 seats in the Knesset (out of 120), getting substantial power and becoming a central member in the government.
+ In February 2013, a public campaign promoted Rabbi Stav, one of the founders of Yeshivat Hesder Petah Tikva, to be nominated as Chief Rabbi. “Yeshivat Hesder” is a generic name for religious colleges that combine Talmudic studies with military service in the army; they belong to the Nationalistic Religious framework. Most religious Jews are exempted from military service; the new Conscription Law was one of the main reasons leading to the 2013 early elections
The party attempted to recruit the secular voice (the majority) to support a “militaristic-rabbi” to the post of Chief Rabbi. Accordingly, an organization called “Secular Headquarters for the Election of Rabbi Stav” was created and is led by Eran Rols. The scene is surrealistic. On February 2, he said to Channel 7, “You must understand, the Haredim lead seculars away from the rabbinical world. I am sorry to say that Zionist rabbis live within their own ghettos, and do not understand that the secular public must be encouraged to take part in the election of Chief Rabbis.” Rabbi Stav claims not to be involved in this initiative.
& An ex post facto law (Latin for “after the fact”), or retroactive law, is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of actions committed prior to the enactment of the law. Ex post facto laws are expressly forbidden by the United States Constitution, though some countries accept them.
These laws cannot be accepted as fair practice, regardless of the justifications used for their approval. Simply, how can one protect himself against a law that has not been legislated? Imagine the USA legislating in 2012 a new law declaring all bubble-gum chewing performed before 2012 a crime. Then the government would declare all citizens guilty unless proven otherwise, and fine them $1.00 automatically. States applying this horror assume that people have the power of precognition (Israel did that again recently, see Minority Report: IDF arrests Palestinian prisoner released in Shalit swap).
In Israel, the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators Punishment Law (Hok Le’Asiat Din BaNatzim) cannot be accepted as a legitimate law, especially due to its geopolitical consequences. The Nazis and Nazi Collaborators Punishment Law from August 1, 1950, enables the execution of Nazis, had been applied. Between 1950 and 1961, this law was used to prosecute 29 Jewish Holocaust survivors alleged to have been Nazi collaborators. The first and only time it was used to execute a person, was in the Adolf Eichmann case. He was illegally kidnapped by Mossad from Argentina in 1960 and two years later was hanged. What makes this a special event from a legal point of view is that this law is a retroactive and extraterritorial law, since the State of Israel didn’t exist during WWII. Moreover, the alleged crimes were neither committed in Israel nor against Israeli citizens.
If we accept this, we will be forced also to accept a Laotian law sentencing Americans chewing bubble-gum in Honduras to death (no offense intended to any of the abovementioned nations).
$ The Chief Rabbinate’s Exams and Ordination Department grants three classes of titles. “Yoreh Yoreh” certificates to recipients recognized as Halacha teachers. City Rabbi certificates to those who took tests on additional issues. “Yadin Yadin” certificates, the most important title, to those about to become religious judges.
The Chief Rabbi also serves as President of the Supreme Rabbinical Court of Appeals, a position parallel to the secular Supreme Court President. However, he is not required to hold a “Yadin Yadin” certificate.
% Hebrew uses acronyms extensively, though in a fashion different than English, favoring the creation of words, or the matching of existing words. AKUM stands for “worshippers of stars and horoscopes,” thus being the definition of “pagans.” However, as a word, AKUM means “bended,” adding the meaning of “wrong” to “pagans.”


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Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards. In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.