The deputy chief rabbi of the police was arrested yesterday by the police internal investigatioans department, on suspicion of accepting bribes from the Ariel Institutes of Israel for the study of Judaism for directing police officers there to study.
Chief Superintendent Aharon Gottesdeiner is also suspected of signing their fictitious diplomas, knowing they did not complete the studies. Since the Ariel institutes have academic standing, a degree brings a raise in salary.
Among other benefits, Gottesdeiner is believed to have received a scholarship for his son at Ariel. The alleged bribe-taking occured when Gottesdeiner was chief rabbi of the northern district of the police. He took up his present post only one month ago.
The president of the Ariel institutes, Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, chief rabbi of Haifa, said yesterday that he has complete faith in Gottesdeiner. According to Cohen, Gottesdeiner is an honest and charitable man, and all his work for the Ariel institutes was done on a volunteer basis. Police sources said they doubted the internal investigations unit would be able to make a case against Gottesdeiner. They said that even if he took money, which he denies, he can be tried only in a police disciplinary court for illegal moonlighting .
Gottesdeiner is suspected of signing certificates stating that police personnel studied 30 hours a week, when in fact they studied only eight. But sources in the police countered that the internal investigations department was apparently ignorant of the fact that independent study tutored by a rabbi or teacher is a significant component of the program at Ariel.