Jerusalem Court Sentences Rabbonim to Prison in Fraudulent Semicha Case


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prisonThe Jerusalem District Court sentenced defendants in the fraudulent semicha trial to prison in the sentencing hearing that was held on Monday, 5 Tishrei. Rabbi Yitzchak Ochana, who is a personal aide to Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau Shlita was sentenced to ten months in prison. Rabbi Meir Rosenthal, who was former Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger’s bureau chief to seven years imprisonment.

Justice Amnon Cohen viewed the actions of the defendants harshly. He pointed out that the senior rabbonim were involved in law-breaking for their part in selling fraudulent certificates of semicha. Some of the defendants in the case are still in the middle of their trial. It is believed the rabbis issued over 1,000 fraudulent certificates of rabbinical ordination to IDF personnel, members of the Israel Police, and Israel Prison Authority as the ordination boosted the recipients’ position and salary.

Justice Cohen stated the rabbis who were found guilty abused their senior positions for their own monetary gain.

Meir Ruemi, who set up and ran the Beit Shean College was among the defendants convicted in the case, sent to prison for three years and a 200,000 shekel fine. Rabbi Aharon Gutstidner, a former Israel Police Deputy Chief Rabbi was sent to prison for four years.

Attorney Oded Cohen, who represents Rav Rosenthal announced he will appeal the verdict. Attorney Michael Ironi, who represents Ruemi feels the court was exceptionally harsh. He plans an appeal to the Supreme Court.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. With a state religion, “smicha” becomes nothing more than a government license, unrelated to the traditional concept of indicating a certain educational attainment. They really should call the government license something such as a “rabbinic license” to distinguish it from what was traditionally referred to as “smicha”.

  2. When do the sentences start? As they will all surely appeal such harsh decrees, one hopes the Court will not treat them any more harshly than former Prime Minister Olmert who is allowed to stay out of jail until his appeal is heard. Or is there one law for the non religious and another for the haredim?

  3. In Yiddish the saying is Der Rebbe meg.
    Such behaviour is chilul hashem.
    Any Rabbi who is sentenced to a jail term should be denied teh right to be called Rabbi