Former Chief Rabbi of Israel Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron was sentenced Thursday to probation and ordered to pay a NIS 250,000 fine after having been convicted of fraudulently obtaining benefits, providing false identification and breach of trust.
Jerusalem District Court Judge Zvi Segal accepted a plea deal reached between the sides, as part of which the rabbi relinquished his pension rights while the prosecution conceded its demand to have the court find him guilty of moral turpitude.
Bakshi-Doron was indicted in 2012 along with several other Chief Rabbinate officials for issuing 1,500 false Torah education certificates to members of the security forces, making them eligible for pay raises.
Bakshi-Doron’s trial lasted for more than four years and the offenses attributed to him were committed more than 15 years ago, during his tenure as Chief Rabbi of Israel.
The indictment alleges that from 1999-2003, Rabbi Yitzhak Ohana, Director of the Rabbinical Examinations and Accreditation Department, was asked either directly or through intermediaries to issue certificates to members of the security forces who studied at various colleges.
The fraudulent documents contained false information regarding the true scope of the supposed studies, including credits, hours studied, and past and future academic activities.
According to the indictment, Rabbi Ohana eventually approached Rabbi Bakshi-Doron and requested assistance in dealing with the issuing of the fake certificates.
Bakshi-Doron instructed Ohana to issue members of the security forces certificates for higher-level religious education and “turn a blind eye” to the criteria in order to “close the matter.”