Daily Israel Report

Police Recommend to Indict Former Chief Rabbi Metzger

Investigation completed, provides evidence that Rabbi Metzger guilty of corruption by giving favors for millions of shekels.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 2/11/2014, 5:08 PM

Rabbi Yonah Metzger
Rabbi Yonah Metzger
Flash 90

Police Unit Lahav 433, tasked with investigating corruption charges, has completed its investigation of former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yonah Metzger and others implicated along with him. Based on their evidence, the police have recommended an indictment against Rabbi Metzger.

Rabbi Metzger was arrested last November and later transferred to house arrest, over suspicions that he had used his position as chief rabbi to engage in bribery, money laundering, acquisition through deceit, and additional crimes to the tune of millions of shekels.

Over the course of the investigation, which was conducted with the Tel Aviv Income Tax Investigation Unit of the Tax Authority, dozens of witnesses provided testimony, and various relevant materials were seized by the police as evidence. Likewise, properties and bank accounts were confiscated to aid in the investigation.

As the various pieces of the puzzle fell into place, suspicions were strengthened that the rabbi indeed received millions of shekels illegally over the course of several long years, and in return gave numerous favors and decisions in an array of fields under his authority as chief rabbi.

These fields included donations, conversion and the appointment of rabbis, and as noted were given as recompense for the bribery Rabbi Metzger reportedly received.

As chief rabbi, Rabbi Metzger called on Jews not to ascend to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, over fears that certain parts of the site are forbidden according to Halacha (Jewish law). Many rabbis argue that the off-limit areas are known, a point evidenced by the famous medieval sage Rambam's visit to the site.

The evidence gathered during the investigation will be passed to the Jerusalem District Attorney, who has accompanied the investigation from the beginning. After the District Attorney finishes handling the file, it will be given over to the Attorney General for a decision on the case.