Former Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger entered Ma'asiyahu Prison on Monday morning to begin serving a 3.5-year sentence for his conviction for bribery and fraud.
The Supreme Court accepted on Sunday afternoon the appeal filed by former Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger for failing to accept the plea bargain reached after his conviction for bribery and fraud amounting to millions of shekels. Therefore, he will serve 3.5 years in prison, as originally stipulated in the plea bargain with the State Prosecutor's Office.
Last February, the Jerusalem District Court sentenced Metzger to 4.5 years in prison. The judge stressed that had there been no agreement, Metzger would have been sentenced to six to nine years.
However, the Supreme Court justices accepted the appeal, and Justice Dafna Barak-Erez wrote in the ruling: "I would like to reiterate that our decision to accept the appeal … does not detract from the harsh condemnation of the ugly acts for which he was convicted."
Justice Uzi Fogelman added: "I do not think that the relationship between the relief given to the appellant within the framework of the plea bargain and the public interest was inappropriate, and my conclusion is that the prosecution's considerations were not flawed when reaching a plea bargain with the appellant."
During Metzger's term as chief rabbi from 2003 to 2013, he allegedly received financial benefits from private people for activities related to his position. These benefits were received on many opportunities, both during private events and as a payment for the rabbi's participation in events held by the people who provided the benefits.
(Translated and edited by N. Elias)