Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Cheshvan 5761 - November 22, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Members of Haifa Religious Council Boycott Meeting
by Arye Zisman

Obeying instructions of the gedolei haTorah, all members of the Haifa religious council boycotted a council meeting on Monday, 15 Cheshvan, due to the participation of a Conservative member. The council was due to convene upon order of the investigating committee appointed by the Religious Affairs Ministry. As a result, the meeting was postponed by a week.

On the meeting's agenda was the election of the council chairman, treasurer and board of directors. The meeting had been scheduled even before the petirah of the former chairman, Rabbi Yitzchok Getz zt"l, who was niftar a week-and-a-half ago. Because the meeting did not take place, the investigating committee appointed by the Religious Affairs Ministry decided to appoint a special committee to investigate the matter. However, before finalizing this decision, the council was given an additional opportunity to convene.

The former chairman had instructed the members of the council to meet according to the law, but in obedience to the ruling of the chief rabbis, he made every possible effort to cancel it. A meeting was called for 15 Cheshvan, and could have taken place had at least half of the members been present. However, all of the members--without exception- -obeyed the directives of the Chief Rabbinate and the rabbonim of Haifa and boycotted the meeting. The Conservative member was the only one to come.

Religious Affairs Ministry aide, Chaim Weitzman, who was appointed to conduct the meeting, noted that since it lacks a legal quorum, the meeting must be dispersed. He later announced that according to the law, the meeting would take place the following week at the same time. The following week, only a third of the members must be present for the council to be operative. Currently, there are 27 council members.

The chief rabbis of Haifa have announced that in the next week too, they will not enable the meeting to take place and will instruct the members not to come. In that case, the council will be dispersed once again, and within a short time, an appointed committee of three members will be elected according to the model of the Religious Affairs Council in Jerusalem. The members of the appointment committee will be chosen on a purely professional basis. They and the chairman will receive no fee for their work, but will appoint a director on their behalf to direct the Religious council.

The chareidi and religious community in Haifa has expressed satisfaction that no representatives appeared at the meeting- -including those of the secular parties. Nonetheless, it is feared that before the upcoming meeting, members with ulterior motives will seek to exploit the opportunity to be elected to council positions, since only a third of the members of the council must be present. As a result, the chief rabbis of Haifa have announced that they will not cooperate with any representative chosen at a joint meeting with elements alien and dangerous to Judaism, with whom gedolei Yisroel have forbidden us to sit.


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