Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto began serving a one year sentence in Nitzan prison in Ramle Tuesday, following his conviction for bribery and money laundering charges.
Before his incarceration, in coordination with Israel Prison Service (ISA), the cancer-suffering Pinto went to the hospital for a medical examination at a hospital. Pinto will later go the ISA medical center in jail due to his shaky health condition.
Pinto headed the Shuva Israel yeshiva when the investigation of him and his wife began in August 2012, with the Police suspecting them of bribing Police Assistant Commissioner Efraim Braha, as well as laundering money. He signed a plea bargain with the Attorney General's Office and sought to give authorities information to implicate police Commander Menashe Arbiv of accepting illegal benefits.
The plea bargain stated that Pinto will cooperate with police investigators, and that he will be indicted and sentenced to a year in prison. Rabbi Pinto was convicted for offering Brigadier General Bracha $200,000 in order to get him to give Pinto confidential information relating to the police investigation into his affairs.
Last month, the Supreme Court rejected Pinto’s request to commute his sentence to community service. They stated that "this is the minimum penalty for a recognized and revered rabbi who sinned by committing serious crimes and made others go astray."
The Rabbi said goodbye to his followers in a lecture held at Ashdod on Monday: "We do not think about tomorrow for a single moment. Tomorrow is like today, like two days ago, like a month ago. Do not give it a thought.
"What the Almighty wants - that's what he does. We don’t just thank him when its good for us, we also thank him when we are not comfortable. We are faced with a difficult health problem. This is what bothers us," added Pinto.
He continued by saying that "we strictly forbid any person who considers himself as one of our disciples from feeling the slightest grief. There is nothing to be grieve about. This misery has purified us. Spirituality is the essence. The bloodshed in recent years was not in vain. It was a correction for the upper worlds that we had to go through this. In 22 years we have not stopped for one minute from Torah, kindness and good deeds. We sacrificed our life for the common good."
Pinto concluded by saying "do not be sorry, don’t think, keep the Torah with all one’s strength, whoever is hurt by what they did to us – it will not help him to yell or do something else. Our spirit will not be broken. We went through serious illnesses, and we were not afraid or concerned for even a moment. We hope to overcome the disease, and that we will see you again. Pray for us so that we shall overcome those things. Everything will be for the best. Anyone who needs it, anyone whom we promised to help, see Rabbi Yoel (Rabbi Pinto’s 15 year old son – KN)."