The trial of the former chief Sephardic Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron
began Sunday at the Jerusalem District Court.
Bakshi-Doron is facing fraud charges,
to which the State wishes to attach aggravated circumstances. He arrived in court accompanied by dozens of followers, who tried to serve as a "human buffer" between him and the media.
Bakshi-Doron is standing trial for his alleged part in a case dubbed "the rabbis' files" by the police.
Authorities suspect that Bakshi-Doron, and several other rabbis, falsely ordained hundreds of security officers as rabbis so that they may be eligible for a pay raise.
According to the indictment, between 1999 and 2003 some 1,500 IDF
and police officers attended various religious colleges for a number of hours a week but were granted diplomas as if they completed five years of studies.
The certificates enabled the individuals to receive pay raises from the State.
The State alleged that the system defrauded the government out of hundreds of millions of shekels.
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