Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Says Women Can Lead Israel

From Ynetnews.com:

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas’ spiritual leader, said last week that in principle, a woman could be the prime minister of Israel.

The halachic ruling was given in response to a question sent to the rabbi, and clearly stated that it was only in principle and did not refer specifically to the general elections, a ruling which is to be given by the Council of Torah Sages.

Rabbi Yosef discussed this issue at length in the Hebrew website "Halacha Yomit" saying, "Regarding appointing a woman as prime minister – if she conducts herself with dignity and honesty, and is instrumental in strengthening religion more than any man who submits his candidacy, then we most certainly should give preference to electing the woman."

Despite the ruling, Yosef addressed the problematic aspects of the matter. He mentioned that the Sages of Blessed Memory learned from the verse, "Be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses" (Deuteronomy, 17:15), that it should be a king and not a queen that would rule of over Israel, and therefore, a woman could not be appointed queen of Israel as long as there is a king who is as fit to rule.

He added that Maimonides wrote the above verse applied not just to kingship, but to all positions of public rule. Yosef continued to say that this was only Maimonides’ opinion, which the other sages, who said gender was only an issue in kingship, did not share. Yosef said that Nahmanides’s writings also showed that if David had not had any sons, it would be lawful to say that David’s daughter was queen, and she could even bequeath kingship to her sons, as he wrote that the reason David couldn’t leave the kingdom to his daughter was because he had sons.


About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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