Speaking in a Jerusalem conference recently, Metzger said, "Today there's a new fashion – rabbis' letters. It started in the north, when they decided who to sell to and who not to sell to, and then the counter letters began. And then there were letters about the District Court, whether it was right or wrong in convicting former President Moshe Katsav. Then I received a rabbis' letter about the social workers' strike.
The chief rabbi explained why the letters were problematic: "Tomorrow they'll issue a letter against raising petrol prices, and then a letter in support of (ousted Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak. Do we need a rabbis' letter about every single thing?"
Metzger spoke during a conference of the Commemorating Fallen Soldiers association, which helps bereaved families from the religious sector.
Review: All rabbis' letters
The Ashkenazi chief rabbi's remarks followed a series of letters issued by senior rabbis from different Religious Zionism factions and reported by Ynet since December, with the first letter calling on Jews not to rent apartments to foreigners. One of the initiators of the letter, which was initially signed by 50 rabbis, was the Chief Rabbi of Safed Shmuel Eliyahu.
Following the row sparked by that letter, the attorney general looked into suspicions that the rabbis were involved in a criminal act, and the Jerusalem Police said they would summon Rabbi Eliyahu for questioning on suspicion of incitement to racism. A group of rabbis which did not sign the first manifesto, led by Rabbi Haim Drukman, issued an "amended rabbis' letter" on the issue.
Shortly afterwards, a group of rabbis' wives issued a letter calling on Jewish girls not to date Arabs.
About two months later, Ynet reported on a rabbis' letter in support of former President Katsav, which was signed by dozens of rabbis and yeshiva heads, including Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Rabbi Moshe Hager and Rabbi Zvi Tau.
The rabbis wrote to the convicted rapist: "All of the people of Zion are hoping for the day when the injustice will be removed and the truth will come out – and then many, many people will be redeemed and rejoice with you."
In response to this letter, dozens of other Religious Zionism rabbis, including Yaakov Ariel and Aharon Lichtenstein, signed a letter claiming that the support for Katsav caused "defamation of God".
Recently, following a social workers' strike, different rabbis – including Shlomo Aviner and Shmuel Eliyahu – issued a letter in support of the strike.
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