RABBI YOSHIYAHU PINTO.
(photo credit: OFIR AVITAN)
Seven months into a one-year sentence for attempted bribery, the Parole Board granted Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s request on Monday for early release from Nitzan Prison.
Pinto’s sentencing followed an unsuccessful legal and public relations campaign to avoid any prison time, which ultimately included cutting a plea bargain with the prosecution to become a state’s witness against former Lahav 443 commander Menashe Arbiv in exchange for a shorter prison sentence.
Pinto was also sentenced by Tel Aviv District Court Judge Oded Mudrik to pay a NIS 1 million fine.
Pinto tried to bribe the police’s National Fraud Squad head Ephraim Bracha with $200,000 to get information from him about a criminal investigation into the Hazon Yeshaya foundation Pinto was running.
Bracha reported Pinto’s actions to his superiors, and then continued to gather evidence against the rabbi.
In the summer of 2015, Bracha committed suicide following a public campaign against him, including by followers of Pinto via social media.
Pinto is the founder of the Shuva Israel Yeshiva and a well-known rabbi in both Israel and the US. He is also a descendant of two Sephardi rabbinical dynasties, Pinto and Abuhatzeira. Forbes
has previously listed him as the seventh-richest rabbi in Israel.