Four rabbis were arrested Wednesday for allegedly hiring people to take their rabbinical-certification exams or forging test scores in a bid to attain positions as municipal rabbis.
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The rabbis are suspected of fraudulently obtaining certificates stating that they passed exams in Jewish law; the expected charges are fraud, breach of trust and the forging of documents.
The four were arrested after a complex investigation, the police said, adding that they were also investigating the municipal-rabbi elections in the central city of Lod. Two of the rabbis are currently applying for a job as municipal rabbi.
The four rabbis allegedly never took the exams and sometimes even asked the examiners to grade their tests leniently and give them good grades.
Investigators from the Lahav 443 national fraud unit arrested the rabbis and searched their homes in an attempt to find related documents.
The police said the suspicions were focused only on the suspects and not on the Chief Rabbinate, which administers the exams and certifications. The Rabbinate has cooperated fully with the police throughout the investigation, the police said.
A month and a half ago, the government responded to a court petition filed against the election process for Lod's chief rabbi; it said it was looking into the suspicions.