Rabbi Yona Metzger.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein appears set to issue a tough indictment against Rabbi Yona Metzger and has rejected requests from the former chief rabbi’s defense team for less severe charges.
Metzger, who served as Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel from 2003 to 2013, is alleged to have taken bribes of as much as NIS 10 million during his tenure.
According to a report on Channel 2 on Wednesday night, Metzger’s lawyers met with Weinstein on Monday and insisted that the majority of the alleged crimes were committed by his close aide and driver Haim Eisenstadt who is the state’s main witness against Metzger.
The lawyers suggested that Metzger would plea guilty to a more lenient indictment and that he be sentenced to oneand- a-half years in prison, but Weinstein reportedly rejected the proposal.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that a meeting between the attorney-general and Metzger’s lawyers did indeed take place on Monday, but would neither confirm nor deny any other details.
Besides bribery, the charges could include fraud, breach of public trust, fraudulent receipt of a benefit under aggravated circumstances, theft, money- laundering, tax violations and conspiracy to commit a felony while using his position as chief rabbi.
According to allegations, of the NIS 10m.
in alleged bribes, NIS 7m. went directly to Metzger while Eisenstadt conducted most of the actual transactions and received some of the money himself.Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.