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Four arrested for fraud in bids to become city rabbis

Police suspect men forged their qualifications, sent others to take exams in their stead

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: The building of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in Jerusalem. (Flash90)
Illustrative: The building of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in Jerusalem. (Flash90)

Four rabbis were arrested Wednesday on suspicion that they had fraudulently obtained certification qualifying them to become city rabbis, including having other people take examinations in their place, police said in a statement.

The arrest of the men, who were not identified in the police statement, followed what police described as a “complicated investigation.”

All four of the suspects had applied to become city rabbis, submitting allegedly forged copies of the certificates they required to qualify them for the senior public positions, police said.

Police suspect the rabbis, who are from different cities, obtained the certificates without attending the necessary examinations. Among the means they allegedly used were forging exam results and having impersonators take the exams in their place. In one case, a rabbi is believed to have directly appealed to the examiner, with the hope that he would go easy on him in the exam and when marking it.

The police Lahav 433 serious crime unit arrested the four and searched their homes to find documents that would tie them to alleged crimes of fraud, false registration of documents, impersonating another person, serious forgery, receiving items by fraud, and breach of trust, the statement said.

Police noted that they had received cooperation from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the official body that oversees the state’s rabbinical institutes.

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