President Moshe Katsav's 7-year term will end in the summer of 2007. At that time, the 120-member Knesset will elect his successor. Talk of who that will be has already started. Three names have come up so far and I oppose all of them. One is former Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin. I oppose him on account of him being a pure jackass. Another candidate, who says he will not run, is Shimon Peres. I think he's too old.
The third is Meir Israel Lau, former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel. As a secular Israeli I think he was a great Chief Rabbi. He never made any covert political messages wrapped in theological coating and never had any scandals - unlike the two current chief rabbies (the Ashkenazi one is suspected of receiving bribes from a hotel; the Sephardic one's son kidnapped and tortured a guy who was courting his sister). After all, the office of chief rabbi is mainly for the ultra-orthodox, so I don't expect much of the office holders.
But I can't see him as the ceremonial head of Israel. He doesn't represent me. He has a very strict orthodox view on who is Jewish and on the question of state and religion. He opposes civil marriages and non-orthodox currents of Judaism (i.e. Reform and Conservative Judaism - or in other words, most of world Jewry). He does not recognize the children of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers as Jews, even if they were raised Jewish all their lives. He also sees homosexuality as a perversion, and thinks Jews should be more religious. The Sephardic Chief Rabbi during Lau's term, Bakshi Doron, is much more liberal than him.
So who should it be? I'd be happy to see someone like Eli Amir or Amos Oz as president. An author from the center-right, like Eyal Meged, would be good too. Avishay Braverman would be great for the job as well, but I'd rather see him as prime minister.
Tags: Israel, Israeli Politics
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