Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, who entered prison about four months ago, has been targeted by criminals in a nearby cell who have been threatening the rav to extort money from his chassidim.
According to the Channel 10 News report, the matter began with requests for large sums of money to keep an eye out and make certain no harm comes to Rabbi Pinto in prison.
Not wishing to gamble with the rav’s well-being, especially due to his weakened condition, chassidim made certain the sum was paid.
However, a short time later a third person become involved and began his own threats against the rabbi, seeking money for guaranteeing his safety.
During Pesach things took a turn for the worse as the mother of one of the imprisoned inmates arrived at the rav’s home on seder night, asking to join in. It was explained to her that she could not due to Israel Prison Authority restrictions surrounding his leave for Yomtov.
When the rav returned to prison following leave the criminals made note of how their mother was treated, warning Rabbi Pinto his family would pay the price.
At this point police became involved. The brothers in the nearby cell who made the original threats, who are affiliated with organized crime, were shipped out of Nitzan Prison where Rabbi Pinto is housed. Each was sent to a different prison, distanced from one another. The case against them is being prepared for the district prosecutor’s office.
Shortly before entering prison Rabbi Pinto told chassidim “HKBH does what he wishes, not just that it is good for us but we must thank Him, even when it is not pleasant for us – we must thank Him”.
After exhausting appeals, Rabbi Pinto entered prison to serve a one-year sentence, the result of a plea bargain agreement.