Haim Drukman

Haim Drukman
Haim Drukman
Born 15 November 1932 (1932-11-15) (age 79)
Kuty, Poland
Residence Merkaz Shapira, Israel
Nationality Israeli
Alma mater Mercaz HaRav
Occupation Rosh Yeshiva
Religion Judaism
Spouse Sarah Drukman
Children 7

Haim Meir Drukman (Hebrew: חיים דרוקמן‎), born 15 November 1932) is an Israeli Orthodox Rabbi and former politician. Today he serves as Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Etzion Yeshiva, the head of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement and Center for Bnei Akiva Yeshivot.



Early life

Born in Kuty in Poland (today in Ukraine), Drukman made aliyah to Mandate Palestine in 1944 after being saved from the Holocaust. He studied in the Aliyah Institute in Petah Tikva, continuing in the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva in Kfar Haroeh. He then transferred to the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem where he became a student of Zvi Yehuda Kook. He also served in the Israel Defense Forces in the a Bnei Akiva gar'in in the Nahal. In 1952 he became a member of Bnei Akiva's National Directorate, and from 1955 until 1956 he served as an emissary of the organisation to the United States.

In 1964 he founded the Ohr Etzion B'nei Akiva Yeshiva Highschool, where he remains Rosh Yeshiva. In 1977 he established the Ohr Etzion Yeshiva, which for many years was the largest Hesder Yeshiva in the country, and in 1995 founded the Ohr MeOfir academy for highschool graduates of the Ethiopian community. Since 1996 he has also been the head of the Center for Bnei Akiva Yeshivot and ulpanot in Israel.

He played a leading role in the establishment of Gush Emunim.[1][2]

Political career

He was first elected to the Knesset in the 1977 elections on the National Religious Party's list. He was re-elected in 1981 and was appointed Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs on 11 August. However, an opponent of the Camp David Accords,[3] he lost the post on 2 March 1982. On 10 October 1983 he broke away from the NRP and attempted to form a Knesset faction by the name of Zionist Religious Camp, but was refused permission to do so by the House Committee.[4] Instead, he sat as a single MK for the remainder of the Knesset term.

In the run-up to the 1984 elections he and Avraham Verdiger formed a new party, Morasha. It won two seats, taken by the two founders. Although the party joined the government, neither Drukman or Verdiger were given cabinet posts. On 29 July 1986 Drukman left Morasha and returned to the NRP.

Civil service

In 1990 Drukman was appointed director of the newly created State Conversion Authority, that provides services to candidates for conversion to Judaism. He remained in post until 22 May 2008, when he was fired. Earlier in the month a Jewish court had ruled that all conversions performed by Drukman were invalid,[5] leaving up to 15,000 Jews unsure about their religious status.


  1. ^ Gershom Gorenberg, The Accidental Empire, Time Books, Henry Holt & Co., 2006 p.356.
  2. ^ Ian Lustick, For the land and the Lord: Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, Council on Foreign Relations, 1988 p.63.
  3. ^ Lustick, For the land and the Lord, p.63.
  4. ^ Mergers and Splits Among Parliamentary Groups Knesset website
  5. ^ Thousands ‘not Jewish’ after conversion row The Jewish Chronicle, 9 May 2008

External links

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