Minister of Internal Security Yitzchak Aharonovich has called on the State Prosecution to put Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto on trial. Rabbi Pinto is accused of having bribed a senior police officer, Menashe Arbiv, who heads the police anti-corruption unit Lahav 433.
He also allegedly offered a bribe to another senior officer, in an attempt to get information on an ongoing police investigation into a charity he was running.
Aharonovich called to put Rabbi Pinto on trial for the earlier charges, which are not related to the bribery allegations involving Arbiv. Rabbi Pinto’s attorneys are reportedly seeking to cancel the charges against their client in exchange for his willingness to testify against corrupt officers.
“A person who committed a crime must not be allowed to escape conviction,” Aharonovich told Reshet Bet.
Aharonovich also urged listeners not to jump to conclusions in Arbiv’s case. Arbiv is a respected officer, and he should have a chance to defend himself and share his version of events, the minister said.
Member of Knesset Miri Regev (Likud) issued a similar call Thursday. “We must give investigators time to complete their query before we judge and tarnish the entire police force,” she declared.
“If, G-d forbid, corruption has entered the ‘holy sanctuary’ [of Lahav 433], then the entire establishment is at risk,” she warned.
While the corruption case in Israel continues, the American FBI is also investigating a case involving Rabbi Pinto. The FBI is looking into suspicions that businessmen in America attempted to blackmail Rabbi Pinto, demanding money in exchange for not revealing his relatives’ medical information.
The American case involved a US Congressman who has been accused of playing a role in the alleged blackmail.