Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Breaking News: Israeli Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger suspends himself from Rabbinical Court

5 Comments:

At 7:34 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/590635.html

Last update - 17:23 21/06/2005
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi suspends himself from Rabbinical Court
By Yuval Yoaz and Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondents

Israel's Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yonah Metzger on Tuesday advised the High Court of Justice that he suspends himself from his positions as religious court magistrate at the Rabbinical High Court and as member of the committee for appointing religious magistrates. The suspension will remain in place until Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decides whether to indict Mezger over suspicions that the rabbi accepted bribes from a Jerusalem hotel. Police announced last month it has sufficient evidence to try Metzger for fraud and breach of trust.

Shortly after the police made the announcement, the Omets movement for volunteering petitioned the High Court asking to suspend Meztger from the two senior positions until the end of legal proceedings. Omets also asked the court to issue an injunction to ban the convening of the committee until the court rules in the petition.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said that she will not convene the committee until the High Court rules on the petition.

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Metzger is suspected of having accepted perks equivalent of NIS tens of thousands from the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, where he has been staying with his family for the high holidays in recent years.

The affair broke out after TV Channel 2 released a story on suspicions that the Chief Rabbi and his family stayed during the last Passover in two rooms at the hotel without paying for their accommodation and stay at the hotel.

It also emerged that the rabbi used to stay in the hotel during the high holidays in recent years, while the State funded his rent for an official residence in Jerusalem, not far away from the hotel.

The chief rabbi was first interrogated in February this year by Brigadier General Miri Golan commander of the Police National Fraud Unit for 11 hours at his official chamber in Jerusalem. He was questioned again in May, this time at the fraud unit headquarters in Bat Yam.

Police sources said that Metzger collaborated with his interrogators and answered all the questions he was asked. The investigation opened after AG Mazuz approved for the first time in the country's history to interrogate a chief rabbi on allegations against him.

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=84310

Chief Rabbi Metzger Suspends Himself from High Court
20:15 Jun 21, '05 / 14 Sivan 5765

(IsraelNN.com) Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has informed the High Court of Justice that he has suspended himself from participating in hearings of the Rabbinical Supreme Court until the month of Elul, corresponding to the month of September on the Gregorian calendar.

The Ashkenazi chief rabbi issued his statement in response to the petition filed by the “Ometz” (Courage) organization which is calling for his suspension in light of the ongoing criminal investigation against him.

Rabbi Metzger is suspected of accepting bribes in the form of hotel services for himself and his family. The chief rabbi added that he is confident by Elul, the legal proceedings against him would be concluded and his innocence would be known to all.

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1119320281274

Updated Jun. 22, 2005 1:08
Metzger disqualifies self as judge
By MATI WAGNER

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger suspended himself Tuesday from two key judicial positions because he is under the scrutiny of Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz for bribery allegations.

Metzger notified the High Court of Justice that he would disqualify himself as religious judge on the Rabbinical High Court and as a member of the committee for appointing religious judges.

Police announced last month they have enough evidence to convict Metzger of fraud and breach of trust. He is suspected of having accepted perks in the form of free or discounted stays at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem.

However, Mazuz is still mulling whether to indict him.

David Liba'i, Metzger's lawyer, explained to The Jerusalem Post that Metzger's decision was based on his stringent interpretation of norms governing public servants.

"The attorney-general has already said that he cannot recommend Metzger's suspension," Liba'i said. "But the chief rabbi felt it would be better to take the step."

Liba'i also said that the self-suspension was an attempt to head off a situation in which the High Court would be forced to rule on the powers of the rabbinate.

A source in the rabbinate said Metzger's decision to suspend himself was another step in the undermining of the respect for the rabbinate.

While Mazuz considers the indictment, Metzger has been a sort of a lame duck chief rabbi, who is effectively barred from functioning in any decision-making capacities.

Even before Metzger made his announcement the committee for appointing religious judges had refused to include him in its votes.

A source that is working with Metzger said several rabbinate projects are being held up while the chief rabbi's probity is scrutinized.

Metzger's propriety as a judge or as an appointer of judges was first questioned by Omets, a movement for social probity. Omets petitioned the High Court to suspend Meztger from the two positions until the end of legal proceedings.

Omets also asked the court to issue an injunction to ban the convening of the rabbinic judges committee until the court rules on its petition.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has said that she will not convene the committee until the High Court rules.

Police sources have said that Metzger cooperated with investigators and answered all the questions he was asked. The investigation opened after Mazuz, for the first time in the country's history, approved the criminal interrogation of a chief rabbi.

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/590686.html

Wed., June 22, 2005 Sivan 15, 5765

Metzger suspends self from rabbinic court after scandal
By Yuval Yoaz

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger announced yesterday that he was recusing himself from the bench of the High Rabbinic Court and from his membership in the committee for the appointment of rabbinic judges.

Metzger said the suspension would remain in force until Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decides whether to indict him for the alleged preferential treatment he received at a Jerusalem hotel.

According to Metzger's attorney, David Libai, Metzger took the step "although [he is] convinced of his innocence, and in spite of the fact that no legal authority has suspended him."

Metzger's announcement comes ahead of a hearing expected today in the High Court of Justice on a petition by the Ometz association to issue an interim order suspending the rabbi.

Metzger is expected to ask the High Court not to issue the order, as his "self-suspension" has obviated the need to do so.

Metzger said his suspension would be in force until September 4th, by which time he hoped Mazuz would have decided his case.

"The rabbi is willing to adopt strict public norms for himself," Libai wrote, "since the public is not familiar with the investigation and might think there is a basis for the accusations."

Metzger said he had no obligation to suspend himself, and that even the president of the High Rabbinic Court, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, does not have that authority.

Metzger said that any other decision by the High Court of Justice would render "a fatal blow" to the presumption of the innocence of an individual under investigation.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home