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 There is much irony present in the news of the day and there also are connections between stories about apparently disparate subjects that can be easily overlooked. As unlikely as it seems, I discern a distinct connection between the debacle and justified humbling of FIFA – the self-proclaimed holy guardian of world football/soccer and of international sports generally – and the ill-timed, ill- advised and wrongheaded attempt by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to attempt not to renew Shlomo Riskin’s tenure as Chief Rabbi of Efrat.

The behavior of FIFA in entertaining the shameful attempt by the Palestinian Authority to exclude Israel from this world soccer organization somehow triggered a slew of events, which has discredited FIFA. In effect, it is now almost a disgrace to be a member of that organization. Corrupt to the core, led by a conceited, egotistical executive head and hypocritically portraying itself as being a force for peace, morality and unity, FIFA has been exposed as the imposter that it is.
As a believing Jew, I cannot help but chuckle to myself that FIFA’s undoing was somehow connected, time wise, to its willingness to be used as an agent of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda and boycott. In its sham moral piety and current political correctness, it hastily took up a wrong and absurd cause and established itself as an arbitrator of diplomatic disputes and a decisor regarding matters having nothing to do with soccer and sports. It has shot itself in the foot and been exposed as the criminal organization it is. There are no coincidences in God's world.
Another organization, which is seemingly bent on self-destruction is the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Also racked by recent scandal and shameful leadership, and having lost most of its credibility and constituency over the past few decades, the Chief Rabbinate is somehow now preoccupied with not renewing the tenure of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin as Chief Rabbi of Efrat.
There are very few rabbis in the world who have done more for the cause of Torah education, synagogue and community service, and building the Land of Israel then Rabbi Riskin. This is not meant as a eulogy, God forbid, and he does not need my approval or approbation. By attacking him however, the Chief Rabbinate is only exposing its own weaknesses, shortcomings andcomplete misunderstanding of the nature and mood of the people that it is supposed to serve.
The haredi section of Israeli society has long abandoned the rulings and personages of the official Chief Rabbinate of Israel. It has successfully infiltrated that institution, which it regards in contempt and derision, and has gained control-granting itself power, patronage, jobs, money and an entrenched bureaucracy. This is a remarkable achievement since it loudly proclaims that it does not support the institution itself nor even deem it to be legitimate.
Because of the ineffectiveness of the Chief Rabbinate and its disattachment from Israeli society, it also has very little influence or presence in Israeli secular society. Except for official marriage and/or divorce proceedings, the secular Israeli has no connection whatsoever to the institution of the Chief Rabbinate.
The only remaining constituency that at least pays lip service and allegiance to the Chief Rabbinate has been the Religious Zionist section of Israeli society. Singling out Rabbi Riskin for attack and removal will certainly alienate this last constituency. There is no justification for this action against Rabbi Riskin except raw politics and the need for the power to intimidate others.
The Chief Rabbinate should be busy repairing its public image, so tarnished by scandal and bureaucratic inefficiency. A public expulsion of one of the leading rabbinic figures in world Jewry can only further diminish any respect left for the institution of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.
Like FIFA, the Chief Rabbinate is engaged in a cause that will eventually backfire. That this is not apparent to the Chief Rabbinate itself is testimony enough as to its disconnect from the reality of current day Israeli society and, in fact, from world Jewry at large. A rabbinate that is so disconnected from its society and has forfeited most of its constituency cannot exist and function for very long.
Eventually, this rabbinate will be called into question. The burden of proof in this instance certainly does not lie with Rabbi Riskin. It lies squarely with the Chief Rabbinate itself, which would be wise to stop this exercise of unjust power and begin to truly tend to the flock of Israel, which has been entrusted to it.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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