Supporters of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto to Protest

Demonstration to support Pinto's hyperbolic claims of innocence for his alleged involvement in multiple corruption cases.

Meir Sela and Tova Dvorin,

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto
Flash90

Students of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, the head of the "Shuvu Yisrael" sect who is in the center of a number of bribery and corruption allegations, have pledged to march against the legal proceedings against their Rabbi on Tuesday, students told Arutz Sheva exclusively on Sunday. 

The demonstrators say they will protest against the court accepting Pinto's plea bargain, which the Rabbi agreed to in September. 

"We will gather next Tuesday, and there will be hundreds of people there from all sectors and genders," Ben-Tzion Attia, who is leading the protests, told Arutz Sheva. "At the rally we will announce the establishment of a round-the-clock picketing line against the court."

Organizers of the protest are pulling out all the stops to prevent Pinto from being tried, including using social media and reaching out to people of all religious, age, and ethnic groups. 

"The campaign will include billboards, pickets and rallies in the streets," Attia said. "In addition we have more than five thousand videos taken by fans and supporters of Rabbi Pinto (including secular celebrities) in which they call on the court to reveal the innocence of the rabbi." 

Pinto allegedly attempted to bribe senior police officer Ephraim Bracha with $200,000 for information about a pending police investigation into the Hazon Yeshaya charity organization, which Pinto was rumored to be closely involved with. Bracha immediately reported the incident to his superiors, prompting a separate investigation against Rabbi Pinto himself. 

That investigation revealed that Pinto allegedly tried to bribe several other officers for information about the case against Hazon Yeshaya. The charity, which was supposed to have provided millions of dollars to Holocaust survivors and ran a popular soup kitchen and volunteer network in Jerusalem, closed in 2012 under allegations of fraud.

The allegations claim that several members of the charity - including Pinto - stole much of the food donated to the kitchen and sold it for "tens of millions of dollars," according to a 2012 Ha'aretz article. As such, Pinto will also be indicted for other charges, including obstruction of justice and money laundering relating to the case. 

In addition, Pinto's associates claim that Menashe Arbiv, the former commander of the Lahav 433, received various benefits, including help receiving a visa to the United States for his son and wife.

To this end, the rabbi allegedly gave $2,000 to Arbiv's son every month, as well as a 700,000 shekel ($190,000) discount for the senior police officer to buy a home in an exclusive section of northern Tel Aviv. The associates added that the rabbi and his aides also helped Arbiv when he served as a representative of the Israeli Police in the US.

Despite admitting to involvement in the crimes, Pinto himself has been highly vocal over his innocence, claiming in hyperbolic statements to his followers that the verdict has "stabbed them with a million knives" and claiming he is "the most persecuted in this generation." 

The statements were later found to be violations of the plea deal, causing three of his most high-profile attorneys to quit the complex case in October. In addition, he filed a petition through rights group Ometz calling for a criminal investigation into the plaintiff who accused him of the charges. 




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