A cabinet decision this week will force the Director-General of the Rabbinical Court Administration, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, to step down in six months.
According to the determination, several state employees' terms were limited to four-year terms with the option of one additional four-year term. Ben-Dahan, who has headed the administration of the rabbinical courts for 20 years, was one of the state officials affected by the decision along with his counterparts in the Druse and Muslim court systems.
Ben-Dahan refused to comment on the decision. However, sources close to Ben-Dahan said Shas was behind the move.
"There are people in Shas who have been trying to remove Ben-Dahan for a long time now," said the source.
"The present and the past justice ministers were approached by Shas to get Ben-Dahan replaced with one of their people. They finally managed to do it and they are trying to hide the motive behind the decision by applying it to the Druse and Muslim courts as well."
A spokesman for Religious Services Minister Ya'acov Margi said in response that the minister had nothing to do with the cabinet decision and that it was initiated by the Chief Rabbinate.
Ben-Dahan, who is considered even by critics of the rabbinical courts to be an efficient and conscientious worker is close to former Chief Sephardi Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.
Eliyahu, who is affiliated with the National Union, and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of Shas, have been both political and religious rivals for decades.
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