The Supreme Court on Sunday accepted the appeal filed of former Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger against the prison sentence he received for bribery and ruled that he would receive three and a half years in prison, as agreed upon in the original plea bargain.
At the beginning of March, Metzger petitioned the Supreme Court following his sentencing in the Jerusalem District Court – four and a half years in prison following his guilty plea in a series of bribery offenses.
District Court Judge Moshe Yoad HaCohen did not accept the plea bargain between Rabbi Metzger and the State Prosecutor’s Office, in which it was agreed that Rabbi Metzger would be sentenced to three and a half years’ imprisonment, and he would be punished by the former Chief Rabbi.
As part of the plea bargain, Rabbi Metzger was charged with an amended indictment, in which it was claimed that during his years as Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Metzger committed many offenses, including taking bribes, receiving fraud and tax offenses, while exploiting his elevated position.
In addition, during the investigation of the case, Rabbi Metzger committed offenses of obstruction of justice.
In the course of the commission of the offenses and as a result of them, the rabbi received a bribe in the amount of 5 million shekels ($1.38 million), of which he pocketed 3 million shekels ($830,000), after sharing the bribe money with his driver, who served as his agent for receiving the money. The rest of the money went to his driver.
The amended indictment includes six charges against Rabbi Metzger.
In the verdict, the judge noted, “I believe that the punishment that would have been appropriate for the defendant, within the compound that I set forth above, had it not been for the plea bargain, is seven years in prison.”
The judge added, “I can not confirm the arrangement reached by the parties regarding the determination of the sentence of imprisonment because of the grave and disgusting circumstances of the offenses in which they were convicted and their characteristics.
A systematic and systematic business enterprise that has been going on for years, with the aim of receiving payments in large sums from various and varied sources. “