yona metzger in india 22.
(photo credit: AP)
The Dayanim Election Committee is due to vote next month on whether to dismiss Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, an attorney for the Ometz watchdog organization has told The Jerusalem Post.
The attorney, Boaz Arad, said that as a result of the decision to put the question to the committee, Ometz withdrew a petition it had filed on September 27, 2006, calling on the justice minister to take steps to fire Metzger following a report presented a few months earlier by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz.
In his April 3, 2006 report, Mazuz decided to close the file on the criminal allegations against the chief rabbi, but advised Metzger to resign of his own free will because he was allegedly unsuited for the job. Mazuz wrote that if Metzger did not voluntarily resign, he recommended that the justice minister have the Dayanim Election Committee convene and fire him.
Mazuz ordered the police to investigate Metzger on December 16, 2004 regarding allegations that he and his family had been comped at Jerusalem's David Citadel Hotel over Pessah.
In his decision, Mazuz wrote that there was not sufficient evidence to guarantee a conviction against Metzger and that therefore, he would not indict the rabbi.
On the other hand, Mazuz added, there were "significant flaws" in Metzger's behavior. Mazuz accused Metzger of lying to police during his investigation and referred to several questionable actions on the part of the chief rabbi, including receiving favors from other hotels and a questionable rental of a Jerusalem apartment.
On April 25, three weeks after Mazuz published his report, Metzger petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding that Mazuz retract the section of his opinion that did not directly address the police investigation.
He said Mazuz's conclusions and recommendations had been extremely damaging to him and that the attorney-general should have granted him a hearing before making such allegations in public.
In September, Ometz also petitioned the High Court, calling on the justice minister to convene the Dayanim Election Committee to dismiss Metzger.
Arad told the Post on Tuesday that the justice minister had informed him that he had promised Metzger's lawyer, David Liba'i, not to convene the committee while Metzger's petition was pending.
The court handed down its ruling in that case on July 30, 2007.
Although Mazuz was forced to retract his recommendation that Metzger voluntarily resign and that the justice minister and the Dayanim Election Committee fire him, the High Court rejected Metzger's petition.
As soon as the chief rabbi's petition was rejected, Arad and Ometz demanded that the court hear their petition. The hearing was set for Wednesday. However, in the meantime, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann informed the organization that he would bring the question of Metzger's future to the Dayanim Election Committee on December 3. Friedmann decreed that until the committee voted on the matter, Metzger would not be allowed to serve as a dayan or sit on the Dayanim Election Committee.
Arad said that in the meantime, the vote had been postponed until January; however, since Friedmann had promised to hold a vote and Metzger could not serve in the above-mentioned capacities until the vote was held, Ometz had agreed to withdraw the petition.