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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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Police Say Commander Was Bribed by ‘Businessmen’s Rabbi’

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto is being accused of bribing a high ranking policeman. Pinto, a powerful Israeli Rabbi, is at the center of a scandal that’s made headlines in Israel in recent weeks.

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto is being accused of bribing a high ranking policeman. Pinto, a powerful Israeli Rabbi, is at the center of a scandal that’s made headlines in Israel in recent weeks.
Photo Credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90

There are money laundering investigations, some through his charity, Hazon Yeshaya. And there was a bribe to the tune of close to $100 thousand he is accused of trying to give Arviv’s predecessor at Lahav 433, Sub-Commander Ephraim Bracha, in exchange for information.

Bracha, another follower of the good mystic, went to his bosses as soon as he was offered the money. When he was questioned, Rabbi Pinto told police this was not the first time he had gifted the high ranking policeman. But they weren’t buying it, so he pulled another mystical rabbit out of his black hat: he offered to give them an even higher ranking officer to whom he had donated.

This is when AG Weinstein became curious, and offered the man of God immunity in exchange for the name. And that has spelled the end of Commander Arviv’s career.

There’s a lot more to the story, of course. Some of it involves the FBI. It started when extortionists demanded from rabbi Pinto a huge sum of money, or they threatened to leak medical reports about the postpartum depression his wife suffered after her most recent pregnancy. Later, after the embarrassing documents were published, she attempted suicide.

U.S. media sources insist the entire extortion scam was set up by Congressman Grimm, another devotee of Pinto, and a friend of Israel and Netanyahu in Congress. Grimm is now in a big vat of hot water of his own, as a fundraiser for his 2012 campaign was arrested there on Friday by the FBI on criminal charges that she invented “straw donors” to hide more than $10,000 in illegal donations to Grimm. Should the fundraiser, Diana Durand, 47, of Houston, TX, strike a deal in exchange for testimony against her friend and employer, the Congressman, in turn, might be tempted to offer information about his guru, Pinto.

So far, the most amazing miracle being performed on a daily basis by the good rabbi is how he manages to stay a fee man throughout these scandals. Maybe his positive contributions to the universe continue to outweigh the shady stuff. And maybe he’s innocent, a true savant, unaware of the wreckage he’s leaving in his path.

This is what he told his close circle recently, according to Maariv: “I never gave a bribe. The biggest sin in the Torah is bribery. Even if you give a bribe for reasons that appear rightful to you, it’s a sin against the Torah. It’s like eating pork. If I gave a bribe, I’m prepared to take off my hat and my beard, because from now on I’m no longer a rabbi.”

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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