Rabbi Grilled Over Alleged Favors to Cop

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Rabbi Yoshiyahu PintoCredit: Moti Milrod

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto was brought back to the offices of the Police Internal Investigations Department on Har Hotzvim on Wednesday, where he continued giving testimony. By next week, it will be determined if Pinto has enough information to sign a plea bargain and become a state’s witness against Menashe Arviv, former commander of Lahav 433 (the Israeli equivalent of the FBI), who recently resigned in connection with suspicions that he had received favors from the rabbi.

For the second time, Pinto sat with investigators and answered their questions for over 10 hours. Department investigators are trying to use the coming days to extract as much information from Pinto as possible. Pinto is scheduled to return to the United States on tomorrow, though police could postpone his trip if they deem it necessary.

Police are trying to determine if the information they received in documents from Pinto’s attorneys is in fact accurate. Investigators are seeking to understand exactly how the relationship between Pinto and Arviv worked, how they would meet, or if there were intermediaries between them.

Police are looking into the meetings between Arviv and Ben Zion Suki, the rabbi’s right-hand man, and trying to determine if their meetings were approved by Pinto.

Pinto was also asked to describe the kinds of services he provided Arviv and his family through his associates. The rabbi was asked if his associates helped Arviv’s son, who is currently in the United States. Investigators are also trying to determine if any assistance provided Arviv’s son was done with Pinto’s blessing or knowledge, or if Pinto spoke to Arviv about the matter.

It could be that Pinto has provided enough information to implicate Arviv in the crimes he is alleged to have committed, though the final decision regarding a possible plea bargain for Pinto will be made in the coming days. The rabbi would have to submit to a polygraph test to become a state’s witness.

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