Shalom Life | January 31, 2015

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Suspected of Bribery, Fraud

Rabbi interrogated for hours on suspicion of fraud, money laundering

By: Eli Senyor

Published: June 20th, 2013 in News » Israel

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Suspected of Bribery, Fraud

Officers from Israel Police's National Fraud Unit raided on Thursday the home and office of Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who is suspected of accepting bribes, fraud and money laundering.

Thursday's raid was the culmination of months-long undercover investigation. In the course of the investigation, Rabbi Metzger was brought Thursday morning for a police interrogation under warning.

The investigation revealed that Metzger is suspected of pocketing hundreds of thousands of shekels he had raised for different NGOs. It is suspected that the money had made its way from the donors into the pockets of Metzger and his associates. The police also arrested a man who worked with Metzger and two heads of large organizations that have allegedly aided the chief rabbi.

The investigation culminated on Thursday when detectives raided Metzger's office and home. They confiscated several documents, seized computers and other property, a lien was filed on the rabbi's and his associates' banking accounts, and three more suspects were arrested.

Following information about Rabbi Metzger allegedly involved in acts associated with illicit money transfers together with several employees of his office, and after consulting with judicial officials, it was decided to launch an undercover investigation of the rabbi.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador approved the arrest of the rabbi Thursday. Immediately following the searches, Metzger was brought to questioning at the Police's National Fraud Unit, where he was interrogated in regards to accepting bribes, fraud and money laundering.

Rabbi Metzger's investigation is still at hand and it has yet to be decided whether to remand him. The police will request of the Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court to remand the additional suspects arrested Thursday.

In 2005 Metzger was interrogated for a few hours by the National Fraud Unit on suspicion of accepting perks equivalent to tens of thousands of shekels from the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, where he stayed with his family for the high holidays.

Police began investigating Metzger due to suspicions that he and his family paid only a nominal fee for their vacation at the hotel in Jerusalem over Pesach 2004. But during the investigation, police discovered that the Metzgers also received huge discounts at David Citadel that same year during the Sukkot and Shavuot holidays, and enjoyed similarly discounted stays at other hotels. At the time, According to the report, he had allegedly taken two rooms for his family and was only asked to pay for meals.

At the time, the State was funding an apartment for the chief Ashkenazi rabbi in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood.

Following the investigation, police recommended that Metzger be tried for fraud and breach of trust. In light of the police recommendation, the chief rabbi suspended himself from the bench of the High Rabbinic Court and from his membership in the committee for the appointment of rabbinic judges.

A year later, then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced that Metzger would not be indicted, but criticized the chief rabbi's conduct and said he had lied to police investigators.

In December 2012 an indictment was filed against former Chief Sephardi Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron for complicity in granting about 1,000 fictitious rabbinical ordination certificates to members of the security services so that they could receive significantly higher wages.

This story is reprinted with permission from Ynet News

55,000-Year-Old Skull Discovered in Israel Sheds Light on First Humans in Europe 55,000-Year-Old Skull Discovered in Israel Sheds Light on First Humans in Europe Trending Getting anti-Semitism Wrong at the United Nations Getting anti-Semitism Wrong at the United Nations TrendingThousands Arrive at Funerals for Soldiers Killed in Hezbollah Attack Thousands Arrive at Funerals for Soldiers Killed in Hezbollah Attack Trending
 

Israeli Startups Collectively Raised Over $900 Million Last Week

January 30, 2015 | By Viva Sarah Press
Israeli Startups Collectively Raised Over $900 Million Last Week

Various startups in Israel raised $910 million through acquisitions and funding rounds in a seven-day period

Read More

Woody Allen’s Joaquin Phoenix-Starrer is Called ‘Irrational Man’

January 30, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Woody Allen’s Joaquin Phoenix-Starrer is Called ‘Irrational Man’

Sony Pictures Classics have announced the name of Allen's upcoming film.

Read More

Steven Spielberg’s Daughter, Sasha, to Star in Snapchat Web Series

January 30, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Steven Spielberg’s Daughter, Sasha, to Star in Snapchat Web Series

Spielberg will co-star with John Goldwyn's daughter, Emily.

Read More

Roseanne Barr on Bill Cosby:” It Surprises Nobody”

January 30, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Roseanne Barr on Bill Cosby:” It Surprises Nobody”

The comedian believes Cosby should apologize.

Read More

Remembering Myra Kraft on Super Bowl Sunday

January 30, 2015 | By Jason Stverak, JNS.org
Remembering Myra Kraft on Super Bowl Sunday

What will be missing for the second time in recent New England Patriots' Super Bowl memory this Sunday is Myra Kraft sitting with her husband, owner Robert Kraft

Read More

Wounded Syrians Treated in Israel: Eliminate Hezbollah

January 30, 2015 | By Hassan Shaalan
Wounded Syrians Treated in Israel: Eliminate Hezbollah

"We were taught that Israel is the enemy of Syria and all Arab countries. Now that I stayed here, I believe the opposite is true; Israel is better than other Arab countries, which don't admit wounded people," says one injured Syrian

Read More

Jewish Hall Of Fame: Kenny Bernstein

January 30, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jewish Hall Of Fame: Kenny Bernstein

The famous "King of Speed" is known as one of the most important figures in NASCAR history

Read More

Postcard from Einstein's Sole Trip to Israel Sells At Auction

January 30, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Postcard from Einstein's Sole Trip to Israel Sells At Auction

Almost a century after the physicist's trip to the Holy Land, postcard sells for $56,000

Read More

More Headlines