Court Sentences Two Top Haredi Rabbis To Prison In Ordination Fraud Case
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Jerusalem District Court has sentenced two haredi rabbis to prison in a fraudulent rabbinic ordination scandal that reached to the top of Israel’s haredi-controlled chief rabbinate.
Earlier today, the court sentenced Rabbi Yitzchak Ohana, a personal aide of former Ashkenazi haredi Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, to 10 months in prison while Rabbi Meir Rosenthal, the bureau chief of former Ashkenazi haredi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger, to seven years in prison, Yeshiva World reported.
Metzger is himself under criminal indictment on separate fraud and embezzlement charges unrelated to the present case.
During the sentencing hearing, Justice Amnon Cohen lashed out at the senior rabbis who sold fraudulent ordination certificates. Because of how Israel’s national pay structure works, rabbinic ordination through the chief rabbinate is equivalent to a BA degree, and that allows the holder of ordination to be paid at a higher pay scale than a person who does not have an academic degree.
More than 1,000 fraudulent certificates of ordination were allegedly issued by the rabbis to IDF personnel, members of the Israel Police, and Israel Prison Authority.
Several other defendants in the case – including senior rabbis – are still on trial.
Other defendants, including Meir Ruemi, the head of the Beit Shean College, were already convicted in the case. Ruemi was sentenced to three years in prison and a 200,000 shekel fine. Rabbi Aharon Gutstidner, a former Israel Police deputy chief rabbi, was also convicted. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
Attorneys for Rosenthal and Ruemi reportedly both plan to appeal today’s sentencing.