By Andrew Friedman/TPS
The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Magistrates Court convicted Rabbi Avraham Yosef, son of late Chief Rabbi and Shas Party founder Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, of violating public trust for allegedly using his position as chief rabbi of Holon to further the interests of a family-run kosher certification organization.
Yosef was charged in 2015 of using his position as Holon Chief Rabbi to ensure preferential treatment for the Beit Yosef oversight body, at the expense of other kashrut authorities in the city.
“The Badatz Beit Yosef [a private kosher food certification organization with close links to the Shas Party] is a private business that was founded by the defendant’s father and is closely identified with the accused and his family. The accused has a clear personal economic interest in the success of the Badatz Beit Yosef. The accused’s actions helped further the Badatz Beit Yosef. This harmed other kosher certification groups and struck a blow to the public interest,” said Justice Tzachi Uziel.
“Business owners in Holon and Or Akiva have been forced to purchase Badatz Beit Yosef kashrut (kosher food) certificates [rather than Kashrut certificates from other organizations].”
The ruling prompted a furious response from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), a long-time confidant of the late rabbi and standard bearer of the party he created. Deri said the ruling was timed to distract attention from the party’s appeal of a High Court of Judgement ruling to allow grocery stores and kiosks in Tel Aviv on Shabbat.