Paris: France`s Grand Rabbi -- the country`s leading Jewish religious figure -- said on Thursday he had resigned, after he was rocked by a plagiarism scandal.
Gilles Bernheim resigned with immediate effect, the body governing France`s Jewish congregations announced, after admitting to plagiarising several authors and lying about an academic status on his CV.
Some 25 members of the Central Israeli Consistory of France met in Paris today to discuss the issue in an emergency session, which Bernheim also attended.
"He recognised his faults, apologised and gave explanations," Sammy Ghoslan, vice president of the consistory, told AFP.
His resignation as Grand Rabbi is "a solution that brings more serenity. We all agreed", he said, adding Bernheim`s post would be taken up by an interim person who will be chosen soon by the consistory`s president.
The scandal erupted last week when Bernheim admitted to plagiarism in his 2011 book "Forty Jewish Meditations" following revelations in French news magazine L`Express.
Further investigation by AFP revealed that a claim made on his CV that he was awarded a prestigious but extremely difficult to obtain philosophy academic status from Sorbonne University was not true.
As the scandal grew, Bernheim came under increasing pressure, and his spokesman resigned yesterday without giving a reason. But Bernheim himself had initially ruled out submitting his resignation.
Bernheim was elected France`s Grand Rabbi in 2008 for a seven-year term.