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More Prominent Chareidi Arrests: R’ Y. Pollack Remanded for 7 Days

The Rishon L’Tzion Magistrate’s Court remand hearing for former Jerusalem Deputy Mayor R’ Yehoshua Pollack took a dramatic turn on Thursday afternoon when attorneys for the suspect requested that the courtroom be cleared, to “preserve compromising their client’s privacy” in the matter. The court agreed to the request, instructing members of the press, family and interested others to leave, resulting in a ‘closed door session’ involving only the court, police, R’ Pollack and his counsel remaining.

Justice Avraham Heiman stated the due to the severity of the charges, one is prone to try to take action to protect oneself, accepting the fears of police that if released, Pollack will seek to interfere with and sabotage the investigation.

Rav Pollack did not appear agitated when he arrived, escorted by his wife, sons and other relatives. He exhibited an air of confidence, after a phone interview earlier in the week, during which he denied any association with the alleged illegal activities. The court on Thursday however thought otherwise, indicating police have presented sufficient proof to tie Pollack to serious allegations of law-breaking.

Pollack served as deputy mayor during the tenure of former mayor, Rav Uri Lupoliansky. He headed the planning board and was responsible for the city engineer’s office from 2003 until the election in 2008.

His attorney questioned the court, explaining that during the past two weeks rumors of Pollack’s imminent arrest were circulating, yet he did nothing to compromise or jeopardize the ongoing investigation, questioning the legitimacy of the police request to remand Pollack at present; under the grounds he will compromise the case. Attorneys for Pollack requested he be released to house arrest.

Despite the gallant efforts of his legal team, the court ordered Pollack held over, remanded for seven days, complying with the request from police.

Police allege Pollack accepted NIS hundreds of thousands in bribes during his tenure as head of the city’s planning board. Police also allege that he negotiated bribery deals, acting as a go-between, as well as being involved in money laundering and guilty of breach of trust. He allegedly promoted the Holyland project for which he was paid handsomely, and worked to advance the interests of the project developers and financiers. He allegedly did so not just on the local level, but also pushed the project through the project’s agenda on the district level as well, police report.

Police allege that Pollack is also tied to the real estate investigation involving former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Pollack’s role was to authorize the dismantling and rebuilding of a building that was classified as “preserved”, enabling the promoters of the project to push $480,000 in bribe funds along to ensure the deal was secured.

News-1 reports that Pollack has been active in the days preceding his arrest, contacting “officials in Yahadut HaTorah to prepare them”. This appears to be the basis for police demands that he remain in jail for a week rather than agreeing to his release to house arrest.

Pollack today serves as treasurer in the community of Elad.

In another Holyland-related matter, suspects Meir Rabin and former Jerusalem Deputy Mayor R’ Eliezer Simchayoff were brought before another remand hearing on Thursday as well, as police do not want either released. Simchayoff has been ordered to remain in jail for an additional four days. Rabin was ordered held over for an additional week.

Rabin, also a member of the chareidi community, is cited by police as the main broker, the man who negotiated all the deals to advance the Holyland project.

Prominent entrepreneur Dan Dankner and former Israel Lands Administration director Yaakov Efrati were arrested earlier in the week as well and also remanded. They were both remanded for five days by the magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

Other suspects were released to house arrest following their remand; Hillel Charni, Avigdor Kelner, former Jerusalem Mayor R’ Uri Lupoliansky and former Jerusalem city engineer, Uri Sheetrit. After their remand extension expired, the court permitted their release to house arrest with severe restrictions.

One can hope that the legal process will bring the truth to light, and the suspects will be judged innocent. The media is having  field day with the events, highlighted by the arrests of so many frum members of the political community, with opponents of the chareidi community using the Holyland case to justify the foul and unacceptable diatribe aired by radio host Gabi Gazit, as well as the recent arrests and indictments filed against chareidim for burning Israeli flags and vandalizing a terror victims’ memorial in Yerushalayim.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

3 Responses

  1. The article seems to infer that charedi are incapable of any wrongdoing and even if they are hopefully the suspects will be judged innocent. As much as it hurts to see our own in this situation and never having been in any (legal) trouble all my life, I have trouble understanding this. To say that all judicial systems around the world are anti-semitic borders on the absurd so then where is this all coming from? There are just too many such cases of late for it to be all categorized as coincidental.

  2. To #1 ~~No Worries… I suggest you start worrying because everyone is Guilty until proven Innocent and even after proven Innocent the long lasting effects of going through the mess and through a court hearing and the newspaper articles, etc etc .What ever happened to DON LEKAV ZECHUS .. The comment section of the Yeshiva World should not be to give people that are down another blow to them.. but shoul dbe used to give chizuk to the olom at large. MAYBE it is about time for all of us to learn something
    and call out to the Eibishter that it is time.. We need MOSHIACH now…

  3. can someone please explain why frum politicians are refered to as rabbi/rav?

    is there some kind of semicha upon attaining elected office?!

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