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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chief Rabbi Metzger suspected of bribery, fraud; police raid home

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.
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.

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