Power, fame, and the inevitable corruption

Rabbi Uri Regev calls on Minister Lapid to keep tabs on Rabbi Pinto's earnings

Hiddush CEO calls on Israeli Finance Minister to increase supervision over funds flowing into the pockets of "Rabbis of the Stars" to prevent further criminal actions.

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto. Picture: WikipediaRabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto. Picture: Wikipedia

Hiddush-Freedom of Religion for Israel called on Finance Minister Yair Lapid to increase supervision over high-profile rabbis' income following the developing criminal controversy surrounding Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto.

Rabbi Pinto is an Israeli kabbalistic rabbi who enjoys a wide following of politicians and celebrities in Israel and the United States. In recent years, he has become the subject of police investigations involving bribery and money laundering. The most recent allegations now include Menashe Arbiv, the head of the Israeli fraud investigation unit Lahav 433, known as the "Israeli FBI." Rabbi Pinto allegedly attempted to bribe Arbiv in exchange for information on investigations about him.

"These cases that recently came into the public eye also bring our attention to the dealings of other rabbis whose followers attribute them with powers beyond the constraints of nature," Rabbi Regev wrote to Minister Lapid. "According to Forbes Israel's List of the Richest Rabbis, many of these "Rabbis of the Stars" are worth millions."

Rabbi Regev mentioned that many of those same rabbis are connected to severe criminal cases. "Among them are Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Ifergan, (nicknamed "the X-Ray for his alleged healing abilities), who was suspected of blackmail in local Israeli elections, and Rabbi Eliezer Berland who fled to Morocco over suspected sexual offenses. When additionally considering the mysterious murder of Rabbi Elazar AbuHazira, it is clear that these rabbis have wound themselves into a complicated web of money, power, charisma, and crime that sometimes even affects the police. There is often little distance between them and severe crimes and corruption.

It is clear that these rabbis have wound themselves a complicated web of money, power, charisma, and crime that sometimes even affects the police.

According to Rabbi Regev, "one of the important ways to battle these criminal acts surrounding rabbinical figures is to increase supervision by the Tax Authority over the impressive sums of money that are flowing into their pockets. The government must assess the sums of money which the State receives from these rabbis' earnings. There is absolutely no reason why they shouldn't pay taxes on their income just like every other business."

Rabbi Regev demanded that Finance Minister Yair Lapid to instruct the Tax Authority to prepare an effective supervision and assessment plan for these rabbis. "We must hope that better supervision will even distance criminal elements from these rabbis' surroundings," he wrote.

Walla News noted that additional Israeli rabbis have called on legal authorities to increase supervision over specific rabbis' entourages. Rabbi Amnon Bazak, from Yeshivat Har Etzion, claimed that the growingly regular occurrences of kabbalistic rabbis "amassing significant wealth and developing connections with different influential sources is problematic and dangerous."

Take Action!