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A former senior Defense Ministry official was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday for rape, sodomy and indecent acts against five women.

Nissim Aharon, who posed as a rabbi with special healing powers, was convicted by the Petah Tikva District Court under a plea bargain. The court also gave him a one-year suspended sentence and ordered him to pay NIS 100,000 in compensation to the five women.

According to the court, Aharon took advantage of the women's innocence and faith by telling them that his semen was holy, and they would be physically and spiritually healed and purified if they touched him.

He also told the women he had held various posts in the Shin Bet security service and the Mossad, that he had carried out military actions beyond enemy lines, and that he was in constant touch with the prime minister, cabinet ministers and respected rabbis.

The bench, headed by Judge Menachem Finkelstein, called Aharon's conduct "monstrous." It also convicted him of fraud, attempted fraud under aggravated circumstances, making threats, attempting to obstruct justice, forgery and use of a false document.

Aharon formerly served as deputy head of intelligence in the Defense Ministry's purchasing administration. During his 20 years of work for the ministry, stories abounded about irregularities in his behavior.

He was finally fired in 2008, after a Civil Service disciplinary tribunal found him guilty of sexually harassing a 21-year-old female Defense Ministry employee who worked for him.