PARIS - Gilles Bernheim, the grand rabbi of France, refused to quit on Tuesday despite admitting to several counts of plagiarism and to deception about his academic credentials.
The revelations have shocked France's 600,000-strong Jewish community and he has come under pressure to quit, but Bernheim said that resigning would be a "desertion" as he came clean on one of the faithful's main radio stations in the country.
"It would be an act of pride and against the collegial structure that presides over decisions. I assume my functions fully," Bernheim, 60, a modern Orthodox Jew who was elected grand rabbi in 2008, told Radio Shalom.
"I ask for forgiveness from all those close to me, my family and the community as a whole that I have disappointed," he said.