Exposé: Chief Rabbi Metzger Told Crony to Lie

Leaked recordings reveal that Metzger told an associate to play dumb, fake 'donations to the poor' to cover up corruption scandal.

Tova Dvorin ,

Rabbi Yona Metzger
Rabbi Yona Metzger
Flash 90

Former Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yona Metzger told one of his associates to lie outright to the State about his embezzlement, Channel 2 reported Thursday, after recordings of a conversation between the two were leaked to the press.

In the conversation, Metzger can be heard denying the fact that the monies "donated" to him through various deals struck with local Rabbinates amounted to "millions" of shekels. 

The associate responded that the State "knows the amount of money received," and emphasized that the authorities took his phone and used it to read his emails to donors.

Metzger responds by urging the associate to say that he "gave the money to the poor" if questioned about the unusually large funds. 

"To where? Which poor people?" he asked. "All sorts of poor people," Metzger dismissed. 

The associate then noted that there must be proof of donations for the sum, which amounted to at least 10,000 euro ($10,792); Metzger does not offer any advice on what to do, telling the associate to "figure it out" and that he'd "protect" the associate during the investigation. 

Another recording reveals Metzger guiding the associate how to answer questions from government investigators, with Metzger asking the associate "what's the problem with saying you don't know and don't remember [how he got the money - ed.]?," and encouraging him to dodge all questions. 

The associate will testify as a state witness against Metzger. 

Metzger has been charged with many offenses, including bribery, fraud and breach of trust, fraud under aggravating circumstances, theft via agent, conspiracy to commit a crime, money laundering and tax fraud, all while acting in his capacity as Chief Rabbi.

It is suspected that during the execution of the offenses and the aftermath, Metzger received bribes amounting to an estimated 10 million shekels ($2.5 million dollars); he allegedly pocketed an estimated 7 million shekels ($1.8 million). 

In most cases, according to the accusations, Metzger used his personal chauffeur, Haim Eisenstadt, to represent him in these transactions; Eisenstadt allegedly received a 10% kickback for his participation.