Pinto Returns to Israel From New York to Begin Serving Prison Sentence

Convicted in May of bribing a senior police officer and other corruption offenses in a plea bargain, Pinto has twice failed to return from medical treatment abroad.

Ilan Assayag

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto returned to Israel Thursday to begin serving a one year prison sentence, his lawyers told prosecutors yesterday.

Pinto, who was convicted in May of bribing a senior police officer and other corruption offenses in a plea bargain, has twice failed to return from medical treatment abroad.

On Sunday, according to his lawyers, Pinto collapsed at the door of the plane that was to bring him to Israel, and was hospitalized in New York.

Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg yesterday extended Pinto’s six-week stay of sentence for the third time in a week, over the objections of prosecutors who feared he would not return to serve his sentence.

“It seems the rabbi is delaying his return to Israel again and again, without providing persuasive medical documents,” prosecutors wrote in their response to the defense’s request for an extension.

The prosecution warned that if Pinto fails to returns today, he will forfeit the 3 million shekel ($750,000) bail he put up against his return.

Pinto was convicted of bribing police Maj. Gen. Ephraim Bracha, of attempted bribery and of obstruction of justice.