Vandals threw a firecracker on Sunday night at the home of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto in Ashdod.
The firecracker exploded in the rabbi's yard. No one was hurt in the incident, but damage was caused to a table. Ashdod Police have launched an investigation, and Chief Superintendent Doron Benamo, a spokesman for the police’s Southern District, said that all possibilities are being examined, including the possibility that the incident may have been a prank.
Rabbi Pinto is a highly esteemed spiritual figure who is a descendant of well-known rabbis on both sides of his family. He is the great-grandson of Rabbi Chaim Pinto on his father’s side, while on his mother's side he is the grandson of the famed kabbalist Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali.
He has advised many businessmen, both Israeli and Jewish-American, on both business and personal matters. Some of the more well-known visitors he has received include Yitzhak Tshuva, talk-show host Donny Deutsch, real estate mogul Ofer Yardeni, and even former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He has also been visited by Israeli politicians such as Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, MK Danny Naveh, and MK Danny Danon. Rabbi Pinto is also known for his efforts to encourage more business investments in Israel.
Though it may be unrelated to the firecracker incident, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported on Sunday that Rabbi Pinto is at the center of a blackmail case in the United States, where he also has a home. According to the report, Rabbi Pinto recently complained to law enforcement authorities in the United States that he was being blackmailed.
It is suspected that a Jewish-Israeli gang has released personal information about the rabbi and slandered his name in an attempt to blackmail him for millions of dollars. The information published includes the medical records of one of the rabbi’s family members.
Rabbi Pinto has also been accused of cursing an American businessman who committed suicide by jumping from a building. According to the report, the rabbi told the man that he would die within 70 days, and he indeed committed suicide 70 days later.