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Yona Metzger, then Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, was arrested on this date in 2013 on numerous counts of bribery, fraud, and money laundering. Metzger held the influential position from 2003 to 2013; the main witness against him was his driver, who was paid 10 percent nearly $2.6 million in illegal proceeds. Metzger had already been arrested earlier in the year, after which he was alleged to have tried to obstruct the investigation against him and tamper with witnesses. As chief rabbi, he was a prominent advocate for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, for whom he inserted a special mishberakh prayer into the daily prayer service. Metzger was more progressive on some other issues, including interfaith dialogue, and he opposed ultra-Orthodox efforts to segregate men and women on public buses. A 2005 investigation of financial irregularities, as well as later charges of sexual harassment, damaged his reputation but did not drive him from office. Among the charges he currently faces are: illegally charging for attending public events as chief rabbi, although such appearances were included in his state job description; charging the state for his role as fundraiser for various Orthodox charities, and then pocketing half of the money raised; taking large bribes to give favorable rulings on conversions, marriages, divorces, and kashrut. The indictment against Metzger was completed this year.
“All that is left to do is pray.” —Yona Metzger