Itonagdol.- New era in Chief Rabbinate: Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Rabbi David Lau have were elected Wednesday evening as Israel\’s next Sephardic and Ashkenazi chief rabbis, respectively. Rabbis David Stav and Shmuel Eliyahu made it to the second place.
The announcement was made by the chairman of the board electing the chief rabbis and Deputy Ministry for Religious Affairs Eli Ben-Dahan after the votes of 147 board members were counted.
The new chief rabbis will replace Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, and will hold their new posts for the next 10 years.
Lau is the son of former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi and Tel Aviv\’s Chie Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, and Yosef is the son of former Sephardic Chief Rabbi and Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef.
The elections followed a long and heated race. Six candidate made it to the final stage: Rabbis Lau, Stav and Yaakov Shapira, who competed for the title of Ashkenazi chief rabbi, and Rabbis Yosef, Eliyahu and Zion Boaron, who run for the position of Sephardic chief rabbi.
Voting began at 3 pm, with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai among the first to vote.
"I am in favor of a Zionist rabbi for the State of Israel," said Barkat, referring to candidates David Stav and Shmuel Eliyahu. He added that he wished success to anyone elected. "We will embrace him and work together," he said.
Huldai used the opportunity to call for an annulment of the double role and for the election of just one chief rabbi, either Ashkenazi or Sephardic.
During the voting, dozens of activists of the Tag Meir movement held a protest outside against Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu over his controversial statements against Arabs, which led Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to declare that he was "unsuitable" for the position of chief rabbi.
Rabbi Israel Meir Lau said the protests provide that the public was interested in the Rabbinate and that it was still relevant for the State of Israel.