Conversion Authority head Rabbi Haim Druckman has received a letter from the Prime Minister's Office notifying him of his dismissal due to the fact that he has turned 75 and thus passed the age of retirement.
The dismissal comes at a particularly sensitive time, after a panel of rabbinical judges wrote a halachic ruling overturning a conversion by Druckman, and implied that all his conversions should be annulled.
The ruling, while not automatically revoking the hundreds of conversions Druckman performed, has still alarmed many converts who had gone through the process under Druckman's tutelage.
Chairman of the Knesset's Constitution, Legislation, and Law Committee, Menahem Ben Sasson (Kadima), asked the Prime Minister's Office Thursday to find a way to extend Druckman's position. According to Ben Sasson, Druckman's remaining in office is important "especially in these hard times, when there is a crisis regarding conversions."
During an emergency meeting of the committee, all MKs present expressed full confidence in Druckman.
According to Likud MK Yuri Edelstein, removing Druckman from office would seriously harm the little faith left with immigrants considering conversion.
"This will be seen as the government's surrender in face of a haredi attack against the conversion authority and the converts. This is another one of the government's poor attempts at survival by pleasing extreme orthodox circles, which anyway do not recognize the state's authority to convert. [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert should take an exceptional step and cancel [Druckman's] dismissal forthwith."