Former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger was convicted on Monday morning of bribery and fraud and sentenced to 3.5 years’ imprisonment in accordance with a plea deal he signed last week.
Metzger was also fined NIS 5 million by the court.
He was convicted of three counts of taking bribes, one count of fraudulently obtaining benefits, one count of fraud and obstruction of justice.
The amended indictment filed by the prosecution to the Jerusalem District Court charged Metzger with receiving NIS 5 million in bribes compared to NIS 10 million in the original indictment—as well as tax transgressions he committed while serving as the chief rabbi from 2003 to 2013.
The original indictment detailed Metzger’s method of taking cuts from donation money.
Along with his driver, he worked to raise money for different organizations. Officials within these organizations then transferred various sums to Metzger, which typically amounted to anywhere between 10% and above.
In one case, the two raised funds for a yeshiva operating in Metzger’s synagogue.
According to suspicions, the driver received a $28,000 donation, handed it over to Metzger, and it was divided between the two of them without being transferred to the yeshiva.
Another donation of NIS 72,000 was given by an Israeli businessman to an organization providing food to the needy.
After receiving the funds, the organization’s director allegedly gave Metzger 30 percent of the donation, about NIS 22,500, without informing the donor.
According to the indictment, this was repeated many times.