Avidgor Liberman
Avidgor LibermanYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman responded to the letter sent by Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett regarding conversions with a warning.

“The head of the conversion system is not elected by the public, but by a senior official in the civil and public service, and the decision to extend or terminate his tenure is in the hands of the competent state authorities,” Liberman wrote back to Rabbi Lau.

The Finance Minister called the Chief Rabbi's letter tantamount to "blackmail."

Liberman warned that Rabbi's Lau's letter was “not appropriate to the status of the chief rabbi, and may lead to proceedings being taken to end his term."

Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu party called for Rabbi Lau to be fired from the position of Chief Rabbi in response to the letter.

"This attempt to hold converts hostage to the haredi establishment which has seized control of the Chief Rabbinate - like the threats from the Chief Rabbi against the minister appointed over him - crosses a red line and contravenes all accepted practice.

"We call on the Religious Affairs Minister to fire the Chief Rabbi immediately and to summon him to a disciplinary hearing, just like any other state official."