The chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Israel was brought in for questioning by police Thursday after suspicions arose he was involved in pocketing donation money.
Members of the financial crime unit of the police raided Rabbi Yona Metzger’s home and office Thursday afternoon after a two-month investigation into suspicions that Metzger was involved in fraud, theft, money laundering and bribe-taking.
They also held another senior member of the chief rabbinate and two senior officials from non-profit organizations.
Metzger was questioned under caution by the unit and it had not been decided as of 5:30 p.m. whether to free or arrest him.
According to details of the investigation released to the media, police suspect Metzger was given hundreds of thousands of shekels by various nonprofits, which he pocketed or distributed to family members.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and state prosecutor Moshe Lador both signed off on the raid earlier Thursday, allowing it to go ahead. Police confiscated several papers, computers and other property belonging to Metzger, and froze bank accounts under his name.
Metzger was questioned in 2005 over suspicions that he took bribes from a Jerusalem hotel, but the case was closed for lack of evidence.
His 10-year term is nearly at an end and he is due to step down once a new chief rabbi is chosen in the coming months.