Haifa Chief Rabbi Faces Indictment Over Bribes-for-degrees Scam

Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen is one of several rabbis suspected of granting fictitious academic degrees for money.

Chief Rabbi of Haifa Shear Yashuv Cohen is under investigation and likely to be indicted for alleged bribery and falsifying documents.

Cohen is suspected of involvement in the so-called 'Rabbis Affair', in which senior rabbis granted advanced degrees to members of the country's security services. These degrees allowed IDF soldiers, Israeli police officers and Prison Service officers to receive salary raises worth hundreds of millions of shekels.

Itzik Ben-Malki

The diplomas were awarded after the security service employees had attended classes for only a few hours a week for two years, but stated that the diploma holder had studied full-time for five years at a religious institute of higher learning.

Cohen was questioned a year and a half ago regarding the affair and witnesses testified to his involvement. But the prosecution decided at that time to close the case against Cohen, and in exchange Cohen agreed to step down from his position as Chief Rabbi of Haifa.

The prosecution announced on Thursday morning that after it learned that Cohen has continued to perform public duties, it decided to indict him for the aforementioned crimes.