Pinto out of jail for Passover on wedding loophole

Court lets Pinto, in jail for bribery, go to brother's wedding right before Passover despite not being eligible - what about Ettinger?

Ari Yashar ,

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto
Nati Shohat/Flash 90

The Lod District Court on Monday gave permission for Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto - head of the Shuvu Yisrael sect who is currently serving a year in jail for bribery and corruption - to be released to take part in the wedding of his brother.

The decision comes despite the fact that Pinto is not eligible for the release according to the criterion of his sentence.

The wedding will be held this Friday at 5 p.m., just hours before the Passover holiday begins.

As a result, Pinto will be unable to return to jail before the holiday begins, and in effect will be allowed to spend the holiday at home until Saturday night.

The Israel Prison Services (IPS) estimate that Pinto intentionally planned for the wedding to be held on Friday late in the afternoon so as to be released home for the Passover holiday.

While the conditions of their imprisonment are significantly different, Pinto's release brings to mind the case of Meir Ettinger, who has been held for over eight months on an administrative arrest without trial or charges even brought against him.

Just two weeks ago IPS refused to let Ettinger out for his firstborn son's brit milah (circumcision), in a shocking breach of his rights that was given backing by the court.

While his vague administrative arrest order claims he poses a security threat - a detail that is different than the case Pinto who is being punished for bribery - the Honenu legal aid organization has noted that convicted criminals and even murderers are regularly let out for family events under guard, rendering the security claims doubtful.

The refusal to release Ettinger, who has argued he is being abused by prison guards, is all the more odd given that nationalist activists jailed without charges in administrative arrests have been let out to attend circumcisions in the past - even by leftist governments.

Activist Baruch Marzel recalled in the wake of Ettinger's refusal that the government of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin let him out of administrative arrest for a son's brit, and likewise Ettinger's famous grandfather former MK Rabbi Meir Kahane was also let out of administrative detention for the brit of a grandson who was born during one of the times he was jailed without trial.