Holon chief rabbi grilled over illegal firing suspicions

Avraham Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader and candidate for chief rabbi, questioned by police over allegedly politically minded pink-slipping of kashrut supervisor

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The chief rabbi of Holon was investigated by police Wednesday on suspicion he committed a breach of trust while serving on the city rabbinate. Rabbi Avraham Yosef, son of Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, was questioned for over eight hours.

Yosef, a leading candidate in the coming elections for the position of Sephardi chief rabbi, is suspected of illegally firing a kashrut supervisor from the Tel Aviv suburb four years ago.

Police said that the supervisor was dismissed over his opposition to the Shas party and the Beit Yosef kosher food supervision service, owned by Yosef’s brother, Moshe Yosef. The supervisor supported Ashkenazi Haredi party United Torah Judaism instead, according to a Haaretz report.

Following the incident, a Labor Court found the Holon rabbi guilty of a non-criminal offense and ordered him to pay compensation to the supervisor.

In the past few weeks, police have renewed the investigation of the matter, apparently after new evidence was discovered.

Yosef denied the allegations made against him and insisted his firing of the Kashrut overseer was legitimate. “I feel sure I am right,” Yosef told the news-site Kikar Hashabbat. “I acted for the public good and have never promoted the interests of any party in general or Beit Yosef in particular,” he said.

Yosef was released and placed under house arrest under restrictive conditions.

In the coming days, Ovadia Yosef is expected to announce his decision over which candidate to endorse for the position of chief rabbi. It is unclear how Avraham Yosef’s questioning will influence this decision.

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