Wednesday, 12 October 2016
Corruption à la Mode: Jailed Rabbi Wins Early Release in Israel
[ Ed. note – I’ve written several previous articles on the Israeli celebrity rabbi, Yoshiyahu Pinto, the first back on January 16, 2014, when the FBI was investigating former Congressman Michael Grimm. News had come out at that time that Pinto, listed as one of the wealthiest rabbis in Israel, along with some of his followers, had funneled more than half a million dollars into Grimm’s reelection campaign.
Simultaneous to the investigation of Grimm, Pinto himself was being investigated–in Israel–for bribing a police official. And in their respective investigations, the FBI and the Israeli police found themselves at cross purposes and almost at open warfare with each other. The FBI were keen on having Pinto testify against Grimm should the case go to trial–but Grimm was a political ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and viewed as Israel’s ace in the hole in opposing the Iran deal, which at that time was being strongly pushed by the Obama administration. The last thing the Israelis wanted was to see Grimm sent to jail. The FBI at one point reportedly ended up with a wiretap recording on which Israeli police could be heard plotting to harm Pinto.
As things turned out, both Grimm and Pinto ended up doing jail time. Now it seems the rabbi has won early release due to failing health. ]
Times of Israel
A parole board decided Monday to grant early release to celebrity rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, who is suffering from cancer, cutting short a year-long prison sentence for bribing a police officer by three months.
Pinto will be freed from Nitzan Prison in the central Israeli city of Ramle on Sunday. The parole board stressed that Pinto’s ill-health was the primary reason for his early release.
According to a reporter for Israel Radio, Pinto told the committee that he feels “like a criminal” and wants to “repent” for his crimes. “I’m not a rabbi anymore,” he reportedly said. “I exploited my position… I feel regret and am ashamed at myself.”
A month before starting his sentence in February, Pinto tried — and failed — to win leniency on account of his health.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian