Holon Chief Rabbi Avraham Yosef was convicted of two counts of breach of trust by the Tel Aviv Magistrate Court Sunday.
Rabbi Avraham Yosef is the brother of Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and son of former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
Judge Tzachi Uziel ruled in his verdict against Rabbi Yosef that the rabbi’s conduct in the approval of kosher meat in the Beit Yosef rabbinical court, which is under the control of his family, suffered a severe conflict of interest.
The ruling applied to actions which took place in the city of Holon, where he served as the city’s chief rabbi and was the rabbi in charge of the city’s kashrut supervision, as well as in the city of Or Yehuda, where he was appointed acting chief rabbi.
“The actions of the defendant led to the promotion of one body in which he has an interest, and the prevention of free competition in the cities in question, and thus harmed both the other private [kashrut supervision] bodies, the business owners, and the consumers who observe kashrut.
This injury occurred in practice,” Justice Uziel wrote in his decision.
The judge added, “In these circumstances, it is clear that these are actions which, by definition, are harmful to the public, including to their trust in proper administration and integrity [in rabbinic supervision], and they are actions which are incompatible with the important values of equality, freedom of occupation and freedom of choice.”
Justice Uziel emphasized the severity of the offenses and wrote: “In addition to the aforesaid, the fact that the policy was implemented for a number of years and in two cities (as opposed to a one-time or a specific incident) is a major factor [against him], since the law has given him wide discretion in the field of kashrut.”