Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel (Rishon LeZion)
Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu was born in Jerusalem in 1929. His father was a major Jerusalem Kabbalist, but the family was poor, especially after his father passed away. Eliyahu studied at Porat Yosef Yeshiva and, for many years, was the protégé of the Hazon Ish before studying at the Institute of Rabbis and Religious Judges under Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim. Eliyahu became the youngest dayan (religious court judge) appointed in Israel.
Rabbi Eliyahu served as Chief Rabbi of Be'er Sheva and its rabbinical court, before being elected to the Supreme Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem, on which he continues to serve.
He was elected Rishon LeZion in 1983 and served for one term. Rabbi Eliyahu is also considered the spiritual leader of religious Zionism today and is considered a charismatic figure in religious life.