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June 24, 2013

Another Gay Sexual Harassment Allegation Against Chief Rabbi Surfaces

Rabbi Yona Metzger 2A 45-year-old gay personal trainer and tour guide has come forward to claim that haredi Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger sexually harassed him five years ago.

Rabbi Yona Metzger 2
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger

Another Gay Sexual Harassment Allegation Against Chief Rabbi Surfaces
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

A 45-year-old gay personal trainer and tour guide has come forward to claim that haredi Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger sexually harassed him five years ago.

Ynet reported that the man says he came forward now because Metzger was questioned under caution by the police last week week in a fraud, breach of public trust, money laundering and embezzlement allegations investigation which has also resulted in the arrests of three of Metzger’s associates, a police raid on Metzger’s home and on his office, and Metzger being put on house arrest for 15 days beginning last Thursday.

There are multiple sexual harassment allegations against Metzger that have previously been made public. Some of those allegations stretch back as far as the late 1980s. The most recent incident made public before this allegedly took place a few months ago.

The personal trainer-tour guide says the incident took place when he accompanied a group of priests to a meeting with Metzger in the chief rabbinate in Jerusalem.

"During the meeting I sensed that Rabbi Metzger did not stop looking at me. After the meeting he approached me and said he could help me get work as a tour guide for groups visiting Israel. He asked for my phone number, and then asked if I would accompany him to his office. When we entered he closed the door, and from here things got really weird. He asked if I worked as a trainer and said he was looking for one. He told me he also wanted to get massages. I was shocked. Then he grabbed my hand and stroked it throughout the entire conversation. I froze. I mean, this is the chief rabbi, and we were in his office. He said he wanted a trainer who could also give him massages. He said he had an apartment in Tel Aviv and that physical fitness was important to him. Then he pointed at his stomach and said 'feel it.' I left his office stunned. Since that meeting he would call me from blocked phone numbers and ask 'When are we going to schedule a training session?' Eventually I gave him the phone number of another trainer, and that's how I got rid of him. I told my close friends about the incident immediately. It angered me that in the past he had issued a statement condemning the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. I remember thinking to myself: 'How is he not ashamed of himself?’”

Metzger’s attorneys issued a statement claiming that Metzger "has no idea who this man is."

Metzger – who is widely considered to be unqualified for the position of chief rabbi, in part because of previous allegations of criminality and sexual harassment that preceded his election, and in part because he lacks the actual rabbinic qualifications for the job – was put into office 10 years ago in a backroom deal orchestrated by haredi leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.

When asked by this reporter (through haredi spokesman Jonathan Rosenblum and Elyashiv’s chief aide, Rabbi Yosef Efrati), Elyashiv admitted backing Metzger even though he knew about those allegations and the evidence supporting them. Elyashiv – a decades long strident opponent of the chief rabbinate – claimed he did so to “restore the glory to the chief rabbinate.”

Metzger temporarily suspended himself from most – but not all – of his duties as chief rabbi Sunday.

Metzger and his associates allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars by directing donations into nonprofits controlled by Metzger cronies. Metger then allegedly took 50% of those donations and bought apartments in the names of close family members as a way to launder the money.

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