June 17, 2013 – New York – AJC condemned the shocking
assault on Rabbi David Stav, candidate for Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel,
that took place at a wedding in the Israeli city of Bnei Barak.
“The unprovoked attack on Rabbi Stav by fellow Jews is both painful and inexcusable,”
said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Whatever differences may exist among
factions supporting one or another candidate for the post of Israel’s chief Ashkenazi
rabbi, they should be debated and resolved with civility, not resort to violence.”
The attack took place a day after Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas party, used his weekly sermon to
call Rabbi Stav “a wicked man” who is “dangerous to Judaism.” Yosef and others
in the Orthodox community have openly opposed Stav’s candidacy.
Rabbi Stav has drawn criticism from some
quarters for advocating a more inclusive Judaism that would engage all Israeli
Jews and diminish ultra-Orthodox control of the Chief Rabbinate.
At the wedding party, youths shouted epithets
and shoved Rabbi Stav, who finally left the celebration to avoid further insult
Rabbi Stav visited AJC headquarters in New
York in January, shortly after he declared his candidacy for Ashkenazi Chief
Rabbi. Elections for both chief rabbis, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, are to take
place in the coming weeks.