Jerusalem, June 18, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today strongly rejected the harsh attacks against Rabbi David Stav, the National Zionist Orthodox rabbi who is leading a high-profile campaign to become the next Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel.
Ever since Rabbi Stav launched his campaign for the chief rabbinate, he has been subjected to withering and repeated verbal attacks, including statements by Shas political leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who in his weekly address suggested that Rabbi Stav “does not have the fear of God” and is “dangerous to Judaism.” In recent decades, the chief rabbi position has been filled with those affiliated with the ultra-Orthodox movements.
Rabbi Stav, the chairman of the Tzohar rabbinical association, was physically assaulted during an event he participated in last week.
“There is no room for hateful statements in the public discourse surrounding candidates for chief rabbi in Israel’s democracy. It jeopardizes the value of free and open dialogue in Israeli society,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who is currently in Israel. “When hate-filled and derogatory statements come from senior rabbis, it can fuel and legitimize verbal and even physical attacks. Let’s keep the discussion focused on the important political and social issues facing the chief rabbinate and the State of Israel.”
ADL called upon the spiritual, political and social leadership in Israel to speak up against such attacks and to take every step possible to promote mutual respect among all Jews.