Former Chief Rabbi convicted of fraud

Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron convicted of giving out fake rabbinic ordination certificates.

AFP and Arutz Sheva ,

Rabbi Doron
Rabbi Doron
Yaacov Cohen/Flash90

An Israeli court on Monday found the country's former chief rabbi, Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, guilty of a series of felonies including fraud over supplying false rabbinical ordination certificates.

Doron, who served as chief Sephardi Chief Rabbi between 1993-2003, approved certificates for some 1,500 policemen and military servicemen, despite being aware the recipients did not meet the rabbinate's criteria, the Jerusalem court ruling read.

The former chief rabbi, who was born in 1941, did not receive any personal benefit from his actions, but the security establishment members received significant salary raises once they held the certificates, which are equivalent to academic degrees in that respect.

Rabbi Bakshi-Doron's conviction for felonies, including fraud and breach of trust, comes just weeks after another former Israeli chief rabbi began a jail term.

The sentence will be given at a later date.

Rabbi Yona Metzger, who was chosen due to a haredi majority in the voting body for Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi between 2003-2013, after running against the venerable Religious Zionist Rabbi Yaakov Ariel of Ramat Gan, began a three-and-a-half year prison term on May 1 for taking more than $1.9 million in bribes, fraud and obstructing justice.

Israel has two chief rabbis, one Ashkenazi and the other Sephardi, whose are responsible for national halakhic decisions such as the rabbinical court system dealing with marriage and divorce, and regulating kashrut supervision. In the past, for example, the late Chief Rabbi Avraham Shapira and Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu decided on the conditions for accepting Ethiopian immigrants as Jews and the conditions for peforming heart transplants.