Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto To Be Released Early For Health Reasons

The parole board in the Prison Service has decided to release Rabbi Pinto after he served seven months of his sentence for bribery and corruption charges and expressed regret for his actions.

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, the rabbi of the “Shuva Yisrael ” communities in Ashdod and New York, will be released from jail after just seven months.

This was decided today (Monday) in the parole board of the Prison Service.

The main reason for the early release of the rabbi, who was sentenced to a year in jail, is due to his precarious health condition.

Rabbi Pinto entered prison last February and before he was incarcerated his lawyers and followers reported that his medical condition is complex and serious.

The board’s decision was also influenced by the fact that in the last few weeks the rabbi had expressed regret for having testified against Brigadier General Ephraim Bracha and for having given bribes.

It should be noted that the parole board also referred to intelligence reports that the rabbi continues to maintain contacts with criminal elements, but it decided that the consideration of his precarious health and the treatments he has to undergo outweighed other considerations.

Rabbi Pinto’s release will be predicated on his maintaining the rehabilitation program arranged for him by the board, including a period of lodging at the Ma’ale Hahamisha hotel, participation in group therapy for white collar felons and individual conversations with a rabbi.

As part of his conditions of release, Rabbi Pinto is forbidden to leave Israel until May 2017, at which point the group therapy he will be attending will conclude.

Rabbi Pinto was sentenced to a year in jail after being convicted of giving bribes to Brigadier General Ephraim Bracha and of obstructing judicial proceedings. His appeal to the the High Court was rejected.

Rav Pinto also presented an amnesty request to President Rivlin but it too was rejected after a negative recommendation by the amnesty department of the Justice Ministry.

2 replies
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    מודה ועוזב? במסגרת ההחלטה להקדים את שחרורו של הרב פינטו, מתפרסמים ציטוטים המיוחסים לו, שהובאו בפני וועדת השחרורים – ומביעים את החטרתה על מעשיו.

    “האסיר דיבר בהתרגשות רבה וניכר היה שהדברים יצאו מהלב, הוא הביע צער עמוק וחרטה מלאה על הצעת השוחד ועל התאבדותו של ניצב ברכה”, סיפרו חברי הוועדה.

    בדבריו אמר כי “אני מרגיש את עצמי פושע וכמה אנשים ירדו מהדת כי ראו רב נותן שוחד. אני לא רב יותר ואני אשלם על הטעות שלי. אני פרשתי מהחיים הציבוריים ואני לא רב ולא כלום עד שארגיש את עצמי ראוי וזה בטח לא יקרה בשנה-שנתיים הקרובות”.

    הרב פינטו אמר כי הוא מתבייש במעשיו. “עשיתי את התורה קרדום לחפור בה שזה יותר גרוע משוחד. השתמשתי במעמד שלי כרב בקשר לכל הדברים. אני מתחרט אני מצטער ואני מרגיש שאני מאבד את הבריאות שלי. אני מתבייש מעצמי ובכל מה שעשיתי. לא דיברתי עם אף אחד בבית הסוהר”.

    הוא הצהיר כי לא יכהן כרב לפי שעה. “אני פרשתי, אני לא בכלום, לא תשמעו ממני ולא תראו אותי. את הבושה והחרפה שלי שהם לא סתם אני לקחתי וריסקתי את כל חיי, פגמתי בכל דבר שהיה חשוב לי. אני אומר לועדה כמו שאמרתי לשופטת בראון. אני עומד בכל מילה שאני אומר ואני מתבייש במעשים שלי. התחרטתי מעומק הלב וישבתי עם העו”ס 50 פגישות. עברתי דבר דבר על הרמב”ם – מה זה תשובה ואני עובד על עצמי. אין הרב פינט.ו אני יותר לא נמצא בעולם. אני עשיתי חרטה מעומק הלב והחרטה שלי יותר עמוקה. אני רוצה לחזור בתשובה”.

    בעקבות ההחלטה ישוחרר הרב פינטו ביום ראשון הבא.

  2. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    The parole board has released statements attributed to Rabbi Pinto which influenced the decision to grant him early release. The members of the parole board said that the prisoner “spoke with great emotion and it was obvious that his words stemmed from his heart. He expressed deep regret and sorrow over offering bribes and over the suicide of Brigadier General Bracha.”

    Pinto said that “I feel like a criminal.A number of people left religion because they saw a rabbi who gives bribes. I am no longer a rabbi and I will pay for my mistakes. I have left public life and I am not a rabbi of any sort until I will feel myself worthy again and that will definitely not happen in the next year or two.”

    Rav Pinto said that he was embarrassed by his actions. “I made the Torah an ‘axe to dig with’ (an expression taken from Ethics of the Father about profiting from Torah} which is worse than taking bribes. I used my status as a rabbi in relation to everything. I am regretful and full of remorse and feel that I am losing my health. I am embarrassed at myself and at all that I did. I didn’t speak with anyone in jail.”

    Pinto declared that he would not continue to serve as a rabbi and added “My shame and disgrace are genuine as I went and smashed my entire life. I ruined everything that was important to me. I say to the parole board what I told Judge Brown, I stand by my word when I say that I am embarrassed at my behavior. I expressed my regret from the depths of my heart and sat with the social worker for 50 meetings. I went over the Rambam word for word – seeking to know what is repentance and how I could work on myself. There is no rabbi Pinto anymore, I do not exist in the world. I have expressed my deepest regret and I want to repent.”

    In the wake of the decision Rabbi Pinto will be released next Sunday.

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