There have been lots of interesting events, incidents and news stories regarding Yom HaAtzmaut, but the one I find most interesting is the one regarding the tefilla led by Rav Sharki at the Kotel last night.As Srugim put it pointedly:
Rav Uri Sharki , head of the beis medrash of Machon Meir, started, a few years ago, leading a festive holiday tefilla at the kotel. It started off small, and has grown every year, with now thousands of people participating. Rav Sharki is of the opinion that halachically it is necessary to say hallel, with a bracha, on the night of Yom HaAtzmaut as well, as an expression of faith in the redemption.
At the tefilla last night led by Rav Sharki, according to this report on Srugim, the chief rabbi, Rav Shlomo Amar, decided to participate. Just before the chazzan was about to begin the hallel, Rav Amar told rav Sharki that he is prohibiting him from making a bracha on the hallel.
Rav Amar explained that Ravv Sharki's opinion, that had been published and publicized in a journal and detailed as well in a pamphlet of tefillot for Yom HaAtzmaut,, is incorrect. Rav Amar explained one cannot make a bracha on the hallel, and if he does it is a bracha l'vatala.
After some back and forth between them, Rav Sharki decided to stand down and not argue with the chief rabbi. Rav Sharki decided that hallel would be said but with no bracha.
After the tefilla, Rav Amar explained to the crowd that his decision and statements were not personally against Rav Sharki, but were to clarify the halacha. Rav amar explained that in Morocco and North Africa they used to say hallel with a bracha, but in Eretz Yisrael the psak of "Maran" (Rav Yosef Karo) is accepted to not say the bracha on hallel, and definitely once Rav Ovadiah Yosef has paskened that way.
After Rav Amar left, Rav Sharki said he had not responded so as not to argue with Rav Amar publicly, however he feels that the bracha must be said and Rav Yosef Karo was only referring to hallel on Rosh Chodesh and not the full hallel as it is said on Yom HaAtzmaut, as we make the bracha on Hannukah as well. Rav Sharki said that next year he will say the bracha on the hallel, and hopes by then to convince the rabbonim as well that that is what is correct....
שניות ספורות לפני שהחזן החל בברכת ההלל, פנה הרב עמאר לרב שרקי ואמר לו כי הוא אוסר לברך על ההלל
So to sum it up, first he publicly humiliated Rav Sharki at a most dramatic moment and then before leaving the Wall the Chief Rabbi apologized and assured those assembled that he has nothing personal against Rav Sharki, just that Rav Amar needed to "clarify the halakhah."
That raw rabbinic powerplay in front of thousands at the Kotel inspired our blunt headline for this post.