Ex-chief rabbi suspected of false ordinations

Rabbi Bakshi Doron may be indicted for allegedly granting 1,500 members of IDF, police false rabbinic ordination certificates.

Rabbi Jewish religious reading holy book 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Rabbi Jewish religious reading holy book 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The State Attorney’s office announced on Thursday that it was considering indicting former Sephardi chief Rabbi Bakshi Doron for his part in the affair known as the “rabbis case.”
In November 2007, 10 indictments were handed down over the incident, in which 1,500 members of the IDF and police force received false certificates of rabbinic ordination entitling them to an extra NIS 2,000 to NIS 4,000 a month in wages. The allegations against Doron relate to his activities during his tenure as Sephardi chief rabbi from 1998 to 2003.
At that time, a Higher Religious Education diploma accompanied by rabbinic ordination enabled security personnel to receive additional pay of NIS 2,000 to NIS 4,000 a month. Numerous educational facilities were set up to train security personnel as rabbis, and students at these schools were ordained by the Chief Rabbinate, making them eligible for the salary benefits.
The seminaries where the studies took place received registration fees for the classes, and the security personnel studied for five to 10 hours a week for a period of one to two-and-a-half years at most, but received certification that they had taken a five-year yeshiva program, enabling them to receive the pay bonus.
At the time of the initial investigation, Doron was called to give evidence by the police, including one investigation under caution, but the State Attorney’s Office decided not to indict him owing to doubt over the extent of his involvement in the fraud.
During the prosecution of the court case against the 10 suspects initially indicted, Doron was called to give testimony.
According to the State Attorney’s Office, the case against Doron has been reopened because elements of his court testimony allegedly contradicted evidence he gave during the initial investigation.
According to the allegations, in response to requests from security service personnel, Doron instructed the director of the Department for Examinations and Ordination of the Chief Rabbinate, Rabbi Yitzhak Ohana, to issue them with the Higher Religious Education diploma and the ordination that came with it.
The State Attorney’s Office alleges that Doron had these certificates issued, even though he had reservations about providing them to the security forces personnel, and knew that the students in question did not meet the required standards for the certification, were not entitled to them, and that they were only being requested to receive the wage benefits accompanying the qualification.
Doron also allegedly instructed Ohana to turn a blind eye and not to be strict regarding the criteria required to receive the certificate.
Material from the investigation, the State Attorney’s Office alleged, showed that Doron participated in the fraud to maintain his status within the Council of the Chief Rabbinate and because of his desire to avoid confrontation with central figures on the Council and the rabbinical figures who operated and gave their patronage to the colleges where the security forces personnel studied.
Approximately 1,500 certificates of Higher Religious Education were issued under the instructions of Doron, through Ohana, from 1999 to 2003.
The salary supplements claimed by security forces personnel who received the certificates mounted up to hundreds of millions of shekels, the State Attorney’s Office said.
Hundreds of millions more would have been claimed during the remainder of their service and in pensions claims.