The municipal chief rabbi of Holon Rabbi Avraham Yosef has suspended himself from all responsibilities relating to kashrut, following an appeal to the High Court of Justice requesting such a step in light of an indictment agains the rabbi.
Yosef, the son of the late Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and brother of the current Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, was indicted in the Tel Aviv District Court in December last year on two counts of breach of trust.
According to the indictment, Yosef allegedly exploited his position as municipal chief rabbi of Holon to force food businesses to use meat approved by the kashrut licensing authority belonging to his family, Badatz Beit Yosef, and specifically forbade them from using products and produce approved by competing authorities.
Following the indictment, the national-religious lobbying group Neemanei Torah Va’Avodah filed requests to the Religious Services Ministry and the chief rabbinate requesting that Yosef be suspended from his position as chief rabbi of Holot until the end of the criminal proceedings against him.
NTA’s request, which argued that the Yosef’s continued tenure as chief rabbi of Holon undermined public trust in the rabbinate’s religious services, went unanswered, so it filed a petition to the High Court requesting that it suspend Yosef.
Yosef’s legal representation responded to the petition on Sunday and noted that earlier this month the rabbi had suspended himself from all kashrut responsibilities related to his position as a municipal chief rabbi, and asked that the petition requesting that Yosef be suspended from all duties be rejected.
NTA noted however that as the chief rabbi of Holot Yosef remained a member of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate which has general authority over kashrut issues in the country, and said he should therefore still be fully suspended.
Once the state responds to the petition the High Court will be able to issue a final ruling.