Rabbi Kaplan, was known to be a supporter of the political party Shas and therefore their support for him was guaranteed.
Shas operatives asked of me to ‘organize’ a majority of people in the Chief Rabbinate to vote for Rabbi Kaplan.
I decided to ask Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for his advice. When he heard of my dilemma he said: “Tzfas is the city of the ‘Beis Yosef’, so the Mara D’asra must be someone who is a great Torah scholar, I would like to speak to both of the candidates before I make a decision”.
On the appointed day, both Rabbis Kaplan and Bistritzky came to Jerusalem to meet with Rabbi Yosef.
The first one to meet with Rabbi Yosef was Rabbi Kaplan who did not offer proper answers to the questions posed to him and tried to give over a “Chabura” (scholarly lecture). “You are a Rosh Yeshiva who says good Shiurim,” said Rabbi Yosef, “however as a Rabbi you need to know how to tackle Halachic issues.”
Next was Rabbi Bistritzky’s turn. He answered the questions properly and showed proficiency in the complex Halachic questions that were posed to him.
Rabbi Yosef turned to me and said: “I want him (Rabbi Bistritzky).” When I asked the Rabbi: “He is not one of us?”… He answered: “On Rabbi Yosef Karo’s seat (Tzfas) there will only be a Talmid Chochom!”
I immediately turned to Rabbi Bistritzky and said to him: “I would like to be your campaign manager.” He was shocked and could not believe how I was suddenly on his side.
Rabbi Bistritzky was chosen in the end as the Chief Rabbi of Tzas, however there were more obstacles on the way.
The Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh sent a famous Sephardic Rabbi to Rabbi Yosef to convince him that Rabbi Kaplan was the right person for the position of Chief Rabbi.
However Rabbi Ovadia Yosef OB”M would not budge…