Dozens of cops will find themselves in court
Dozens of cops will find themselves in court Israel News photo: (Flash 90)
The national police force's Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) filed charges Tuesday against 47 policemen or former policemen accused of taking part in a scheme to falsify records indicating extensive yeshiva studies that never took place. The allegedly illegally-obtained certificates of higher education in Jewish studies cost the State hundreds of thousands of shekels in additional pay benefits.

The charges came after an extensive and complicated investigation, which lasted for several years, carried out jointly by the IAU, the Fraud Crimes Unit of the national police and the investigative branch of the military police. More than 1,500 people were questioned, among them 700 police officers. Most of the accused individuals are charged with fraudulent receiving, while others are alleged to have falsified the documents used in the scam.

According to the evidence filed with the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court, several individuals who have already been charged established a number of makeshift "colleges" for post-high school studies. Members of the security services were invited to attend Judaic studies classes for a few hours a week over the course of one or two years.

After making several false representations to the Chief Rabbinate, the "colleges" awarded their students signed certificates recognizing five years of study in an advanced yeshiva program. The illegally obtained documents were then presented to the security services' personnel departments, along with additional misrepresentations, which led to the State paying out hundreds of thousands of shekels in additional salary benefits.

Charges in the case have already been filed against the leading conspirators, including the "college" directors, members of the Chief Rabbinate and even a high-ranking police rabbi. Had the plot not been interrupted by the arrests, the total monies obtained illegally could have reached hundreds of millions of shekels over the course of the officers' regular service on the police force.

In addition to the criminal charges filed in the case, several hundred other police officers will face disciplinary hearings over their actions, as were exposed during the extensive investigation.

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