Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg’s appeal to reduce his prison sentence.
The court stressed that “his distorted actions are very close to the hard-core definition of the offense of rape. He took advantage of his position as rabbi and head of a community and caused the victims to think that they were receiving a treatment.”
In the summer of 2015, Tsfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu received complaints about Rabbi Sheinberg’s abuse of women who came to him for counseling. Rabbi Eliyahu convened a three-rabbi panel that questioned Sheinberg about the allegations.
According to Rabbi Eliyahu, Sheinberg admitted to the accusations and agreed to suspend himself from any contact with the public. Rabbi Eliyahu then instructed him to stay away from Tsfat and revealed to his Yeshiva students what he had done.
After the case was exposed by the media, one of the Sheinberg’s victims filed a complaint with the police, which was later followed by additional victims’ complaints.
On July 27, 2015, Sheinberg was indicted on charges of rape, sodomy, indecent assault, obstruction of justice and sexual harassment.
On July 26, 2017, he signed a plea bargain for sexual assault against eight women after the rape charges had been dropped from the indictment.
On February 6, 2018, he was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.
Last week, the Supreme Court heard Sheinberg’s appeal to reduce the sentence, based on the fact that he had confessed and accepted responsibility for his actions.
Many women who objected to reducing Sheinberg’s sentence protested outside the court and called for him to serve out his time in prison.