Jail term delayed as celebrity rabbi checks into hospital instead
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Jail term delayed as celebrity rabbi checks into hospital instead

Yoshiyahu Pinto, suffering from cancer, given until midnight to register at Ramle jail where he will serve one-year sentence

File: Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, center, arrives the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on November 16, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
File: Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, center, arrives the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on November 16, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Celebrity rabbi and cancer-sufferer Yoshiyahu Pinto reportedly checked himself into a Jerusalem hospital late Tuesday morning, just hours before he was due to report at a prison medical center to start a one-year jail sentence for bribing a police officer.

Pinto was expected to undergo oncological treatment at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem at 1 p.m. — the hour he had been scheduled to turn up at the jail.

The Prisons Service said Pinto could enter the medical facility of Nitzan Prison in Ramle, in central Israel, until midnight, according to reports in Hebrew-language media. Prison staff and police are on standby in case the rabbi arrives with large numbers of followers.

He is to serve his time just a stone’s throw from former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who began a 19-month sentence at Ramle’s Ma’asiyahu Prison on Monday.

Last month, the High Court rejected an appeal by Pinto, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi and kabbalist, for leniency on account of his health situation.

Pinto, who enjoys an international following among celebrities and business leaders as well as high-powered contacts in the Israeli government and elsewhere, delivered his last talk to followers Monday, telling them that nobody would “break our spirit.”

“We’ve been through serious illness and haven’t been scared for a minute,” he said, according to daily Haaretz. The way of God would be their real triumph, he added.

“We worried when there were problems, now there are good things,” he said. “You don’t know how many good things will flow from this.”

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