Satmar circles are known for their disdain for the Israeli Rabbinate and its chief rabbis.
But in a recording, Rishon Letzion Rav Yitzchok Yosef says a Satmar rov met him at his home and that their opposition to the Rabbinate has mellowed.
“The opposition to the Rabbinate is a thing of the past,” he said. “Today? We make [semichah] tests for all groups. I come to Binyonei Ha’umah complex where the tests are held and see people from every sector.
“A rov from Satmar came to my home on a Friday in secrecy and asked me to tell no one. He needed a favor from me. I said to him, ‘What are you afraid of?’ He responded, ‘I am from Satmar. If people hear that I visited you, they’ll put up posters of an amah by amah against me.‘ I said to him, ‘That’s something of the past.’
“I told him something else: ‘Look, the person who set up the Rabbinate was Rav Kook. For the Ashkenazim, he set up the Rabbinate. But by us Sephardim, it wasn’t the Zionists who set it up. It’s 350 years since the first Rishon Letzion, Rav Moshe Galanti. You’ve nothing to be afraid of.”’