Above: Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto
Journalist Who Exposed Alleged Crimes Of Haredi ‘Kabbalist’ Threatened
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Journalist Ilana Dayan is facing threats of physical violence after her exposé on Sefardi haredi ‘kabbalist’ Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto aired on Israel’s Channel 10 last week.
According to a Channel 10 news report, the security officer of the settlement Dayan lives in increased security around her home and increased security patrols in the entire community after people who were described as “shady characters” and “visibly Orthodox” entered the community and began asking where Dayan lives, the Israeli business daily Globes reported.
News 10 also received threats and reported them to police, who conducted a search around Dayan’s house.
In 2006, Dayan’s house was broken into. Documents and mobile devices were stolen and the house was vandalized.
A spokesman for Pinto condemned all violence and said the threats did not come from Pinto’s supporters.
“We are convinced that the threats are not the way of even one of the community and the rabbi's followers,” the spokesman said.
However, opponents of Pinto have repeatedly claimed that they have been threatened by Pinto’s henchmen.
Pinto is enmeshed in a bribery, public corruption, embezzlement and obstruction of justice scandal in which he and several associates allegedly stole tens of millions of dollars of food donations earmarked for elderly Holocaust survivors and pocketed the cash.
Pinto allegedly bribed senior police officials, intimidated witnesses, laundered money and committed other crimes to try to cover up his alleged embezzlement and hinder prosecution. If fully prosecuted, he could serve years in prison.
However, Pinto’s attorneys reportedly worked out a plea deal with the state’s attorney’s office that would see Pinto serve at most one year in prison.
The alleged deal has sparked outrage, and exposés like Dayan’s make it difficult for the government to give the politically connected Pinto, who is one of the top ten wealthiest rabbis in Israel with a known net worth in the tens of millions of dollars, a sweetheart plea deal.