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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
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Update: Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger under House Arrest

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Metzger is in big trouble. he is under house arrest for five days. He denies any wrongdoing but faces possible charges for bribery, breach of public trust and money laundering.
Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger

Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger under questioning for bribery
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / Flash90

Police have released Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger on condition of “house arrest” for five says, during which time he is forbidden from leaving the country or making contact with anyone under investigation on charges of bribery and money laundering.

Police questioned Rabbi Metzger for 10 hours before releasing him close to midnight Thursday night.

He vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Police have taken into custody Rabbi Metzger’s aide, Chaim Eizenstein, for eight days. Also being held for six and seven days respectively are officials of two non-profit organizations,  Beit HaTavshil director Simcha Karkovsky  and Ben Zion Tzioni, head of the Tzedaka V’Mishpat.

Israeli fraud squad officers raided Rabbi Metzger’s home and office Thursday morning following an undercover probe the past several months.  Police received authorization from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador to carry out the raid and arrests.

Police confiscated computers and documents and opened bank accounts.

The Chief Rabbi allegedly pocketed hundreds of  thousands of shekels, and possibly more, that were intended for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Also questioned and eventually arrested were one of the rabbi’s aides and two NGO officials.

Other arrests are expected.

The probe is the latest in a lengthening list of investigations of Israeli public figures, including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was acquitted on two major charges and found guilty on one count, and suspended Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The suspicions against Rabbi Metzger are grave, and if indictments are filed, the case would be a bombshell for an Israeli public that is increasingly distrustful of the police, politicians and judges.

Nevertheless, the  timing of the indictment against Lieberman and the questioning of Lieberman is interesting. Accusations and investigations against Lieberman dragged on for more than 10 years before an indictment was filed late last year, coincidentally around the time new elections were scheduled.

Rabbi Metzger, from the Haredi community, is being questioned days before the election of new chief rabbis. The two leading candidates for the Ashkenazi post are Haredi Rabbi David Lau and national religious Rabbi David Stav.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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11 Responses to “Update: Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger under House Arrest”

  1. Brian Kent says:

    How Charedi can you be when you served in the IDF and learned in Zionist yeshivot.

  2. Brian Kent says:

    How Charedi can you be when you served in the IDF and learned in Zionist yeshivot.

  3. Anonymous says:

    IT IS TIME TO END THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF RABBINATE. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  4. David Atzbani says:

    Rabbi Metzger is anything but Chareidi, under that big homburg hat of his is a kippah seruga, he learned in a National Religious Yeshiva, says hallel with a Bracha on Yom HaAtzmaut and served in the IDF in a tank unit. Looks are deceiving. Rabbi David Lau also claims to be national Religious not Hareidi.

  5. Remember when they tried to "get" him before with the hotel bills? Turns out he paid them – do you remember the headlines when he was cleared? Me neither…

  6. David Atzbani says:

    and remember when thy accused Rabbi Amar of beating up a boy who was messing with his daughter and nothing came of that either

  7. The rabbi went around collecting for various organizations and he supposedly took traveling expenses from the charity box. Not sure I understand the wrongdoing

  8. The rabbi went around collecting for various organizations and he supposedly took traveling expenses from the charity box. Not sure I understand the wrongdoing

  9. I am amazed – is this just a dig at the Haredi community (for a change)? Lynette

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