French Jews Elect New Chief Rabbi in Wake of Plagiarism Scandal

Haim Korsia defeats Olivier Kaufmann, an interim chief rabbi, to win the seven-year term.

France's Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, speaks to journalists on June 22, 2014, in Paris.AFP

The Jewish community of France elected Rabbi Haim Korsia, the French army’s Jewish chaplain, as its new chief rabbi.

Korsia, 51, defeated Rabbi Olivier Kaufmann, an interim chief rabbi, in a 131-97 vote on Sunday to win the seven-year term, the French news agency AFP reported.

Kaufmann, the head of a French rabbinical school, was one of two rabbis who filled in for Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim following his resignation in April. Bernheim admitted that he had plagiarized in two books and an essay as well as claimed unearned academic titles.

The vote by a committee of the Consistoire - the French Jewish institution responsible for providing religious services - comes amid a spate of anti-Semitic attacks against French Jews.