Police: Evidence to support bribery, money laundering present in rabbi Metzger probe

Authorities finish investigation of former chief rabbi arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes, illicit payments

CHIEF RABBI Yona Metzger 370 (photo credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)
CHIEF RABBI Yona Metzger 370
(photo credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)
There is evidence that former chief rabbi Yonah Metzger took millions in bribes and laundered large sums of money during his time in office, the Israel police said Tuesday.
Police announced that they finished the probe of Metzger and said “the investigation has turned up evidence that, for years, Metzger received millions of shekels in bribes in order to make decisions on a wide range of issues, including ones at the heart of his job as chief rabbi – such as conversions, appointments of rabbis and other tasks.”
The case has been handed over to Jerusalem District prosecutors, who will decide whether or not to pass the case on to the attorney-general for approval.
In November, Metzger was released to house arrest a week after being arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes and illicit payments.
Metzger was also banned from leaving the country for 180 days, banned from speaking to the press and required to pay a NIS 500,000 bond.
At a hearing just before Metzger was released to house arrest, the head of the police investigation of Metzger said the case was a “depressing picture” in which Metzger allegedly received bribes and forbidden payments at an “unprecedented scope.”
Among other allegations, Metzger is accused of taking hundreds of thousands of shekels to act as an agent directing people to donate to specific charities in Israel and abroad.
Police said that Metzger stashed the money in a number of places, reportedly including large amounts of cash stuffed inside liturgical books at his house in Tel Aviv.
Police have used a state’s witness in the case, who was once a close associate of Metzger.