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Rabbi Pinto wins early release due to ill health

Celebrity rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto is to be released from Nitzan Prison in the central Israeli city of Ramle on Sunday, three months before the end of his term.

A prisons release committee stresses that the rabbi’s ill health — he has cancer — is the primary reason for accepting his appeal to be freed early.

Pinto told the committee, “I feel like a criminal… I’m not a rabbi anymore… I exploited my position…. I feel regrets and am ashamed at myself… I want to repent,” Israel TV’s Amotz Shapira tweets.

The rabbi, who enjoys an international following among celebrities and business leaders, as well as high-powered contacts in the Israeli government and elsewhere, was sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of NIS 1 million ($260,000) for bribing a police officer.

— Sue Surkes

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