Israel Selects New Chief Rabbis, David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef
JNS.org – Rabbi David Lau, the chief rabbi of Modiin, was named Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi on Wednesday evening, alongside Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who was named the chief Sephardi rabbi.
Both of Israel’s new chief rabbis are the sons for former chief rabbis: Lau’s father, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, served as the chief Ashkenazi rabbi between 1993 and 2003, and Yosef’s father, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, served as the chief Sephardi rabbi between 1973 and 1983.
The 150 electors responsible for choosing Israel’s chief rabbis gave Lau, 47, and Yosef, 61, the same number of votes—68. The new chief rabbis were elected for a 10-year term.
Lau’s main rival in the race, the national-religious camp’s candidate Rabbi David Stav, received 54 votes; while Yosef’s strongest rival, Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, received 49.
“This is a joyous occasion of course, but there is also a sense of great responsibility,” Lau told Israel Hayom shortly after he was named the new chief rabbi. “I was sitting by Father when the results came in. He hugged me and told me that I have a heavy burden to carry. I pray that I will be everyone’s rabbi and that the Chief Rabbinate will be everyone’s rabbinate.”
“I thank God that I have been blessed to sit on the same chair as my father,” Yosef said.