For the second time this year, former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger was being questioned by police for alleged financial improprieties. Police arrested Rabbi Metzger on charges of taking bribes, interfering with an ongoing police investigation, and intimidating witnesses, police said.
A Rishon Lezion court on Monday extended Rabbi Metzger's remand for nine days. In a statement, police said that Rabbi Metzger's crimes involved fraud of millions of shekels.
The current charges are related to the investigation police opened against Rabbi Metzger last June. At the time, police accused Rabbi Metzger of “fraud, theft by a public official, breach of faith, accepting bribes, and money laundering.” The specifics of those charges were not revealed, but they were said to relate to payments and benefits he received as Chief Rabbi. He was eventually released without charges being pressed.
Several years ago, Rabbi Metzger was questioned for receiving “unauthorized benefits,” accused of receiving free stays in hotels. Police dropped the charges when Rabbi Metzger's office produced proof that he had indeed paid for the trips, but not before headlines about his “corruption” were spread in the media.
Rabbi Metzger served as Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi between 2003 and 2013, stepping down on July 24 of this year.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, close associates of Rabbi Metzger's hotly denied the charges against him. They were convinced, they said, that justice would prevail, and that the Rabbi's good name would be cleared when his complete and total innocence was proven.