Dvora Rivka Pinto, the wife of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, one of Israel’s most
influential rabbis, attempted suicide by taking an overdose of pills at the
couple’s Ashdod home on Sunday, while police investigators interrogated her
husband on suspicion of money laundering and bribing a senior police
Pinto was lightly hurt and taken by Magen David Adom paramedics
to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, where she was recovering Sunday
Last week the Pintos were detained for questioning on suspicion of
money laundering and attempting to bribe a top police investigator in order to
gain information on a police investigation into Pinto’s business dealings. The
Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Thursday night ordered the Pintos placed on
house arrest for 15 days.
The national police investigations branch said
on Sunday that Pinto and his wife were interrogated by police detectives for
three hours earlier in the day, before the meeting was called off “due to
A spokeswoman for the police investigative branch
would not say if the personal reasons were linked to the attempted suicide that
took place at the same time, but said that police plan on renewing the
interrogations in the coming days.
Pinto is suspected of trying earlier
this month to bribe Dep.-Ch.
Ephraim Bracha, head of the national police
investigations branch, who has known the rabbi for many years.
reportedly offered Bracha $100,000 for information about an investigation into
the business operations of a charity linked to Pinto, and sent his wife to hand
over a suitcase with the cash to Bracha’s wife.
Following the suicide
attempt, Amir Dan, a spokesman hired by the Pinto family, lashed out at the
Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court for ignoring a request by the Pintos to issue a
gag order on the investigation, due to concerns about the rebbetzin’s emotional
It was announced Sunday that Pinto has hired former prime
minister Ehud Olmert’s attorney Eli Zohar, who represented him in his successful
fight against a litany of corruption charges.
On Sunday, Zohar was
already going to bat for his new client, telling an impromptu press conference
at Sheba Medical Center that “the rabbi and his wife are cooperating fully with
Zohar criticized the police decision to carry out
the interrogations on Sunday, saying that they expressed to police their concern
about the rebbetzin’s health “and to our dismay, what happened,
Zohar added that he hopes the investigation comes to an end as
quickly as possible.
Founder of the Shuva Israel Yeshiva, Pinto is a
famous rabbi both in Israel and the US, and a descendant of two Sephardic
rabbinical dynasties, both the Pinto and Abuhatzeira dynasties.
A star in
his own right, Pinto has served as an adviser to a battery of Israel’s elite,
including businessman Yitzhak Tshuva, former Kadima Party head Tzipi Livni,
Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and tycoon Nochi Dankner.