Tel Aviv District Court Deputy President Oded Modrik ordered Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto to return from New York and present himself for his arraignment Tuesday despite Pinto’s claims of being too ill to travel due to a fight against cancer.
Above: Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto
Sefardi Haredi Kabbalist Must Return To Israel By Tuesday For Criminal Court Date, Despite Claims Of Illness, Court Rules
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Tel Aviv District Court Deputy President Oded Modrik ordered Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto to return from New York and present himself for his arraignment Tuesday despite Pinto’s claims of being too ill to travel due to a fight against cancer, the Jerusalem Post reported today.
State medical experts told the court that even if Pinto is telling the truth about the nature of his illness – which many observers strongly doubt – he can still safely fly.
Modrik issued his ruling April 8, but it was not published until today because of the court’s Passover break.
Pinto made a much-criticized plea deal with state prosecutors in 2014 in which he agreed to plead guilty to attempted bribery and related crimes in exchange for a promise that the state would not ask for a sentence of more than one year in prison.
For that deal. Pinto gave the state supposedly incriminating evidence against a top police commander, Menashe Arbiv. But Arbiv rebutted almost all of that evidence in a detailed letter to Israel’s attorney general last year – a rebuttal the AG has never publicly commented on. Arbiv provided the AG with his public schedule, travel records, affidavits from third parties, and much other information – including a lie detector test administered to Arbiv’s son – that all appear to show the politically connected Pinto was lying about him.
In February 2015, Israel’s High Court of Justice decided to allow the plea deal to stand, but sharply criticized it nonetheless.
Pinto was formally indicted in September 2014 and was then allowed to travel to the US, where he lives half the year, after posting bond.
But Pinto – a Sefardi ‘kabbalist’ who is one of the top ten richest rabbis in Israel with a known net worth in the tens of millions of dollars – has refused to return for his scheduled court dates, claiming his fight against cancer prevents him from traveling, a claim the government’s medical experts say is false. Pinto’s Israeli attorneys submitted supposed medical documentation of Pinto’s illness to the court weeks ago – documentation the court noted was not official and which proved nothing. It ordered Pinto to supply official documentation and then last week ruled that even if Pinto’s claims of fighting cancer were true (which is still not entirely clear), there is no medical reason preventing him from flying back to Israel for his arraignment.
Pinto’s top aides and associates have allegedly been involved in a slew of illegal activities, from looting millions from an Israeli charity meant to be used to feed poor elderly Holocaust survivors to running illegal hotels in Manhattan to distributing pirated pornography. Pinto himself allegedly financially benefitted from some of these scams – including from the theft of millions of dollars in food donations meant for Holocaust survivors.