AJC Condemns Assault on Rabbi David Stav, Candidate for Chief Rabbi

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 and harm.

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.