Holon Chief Rabbi Avraham Yosef, the son of late Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, was convicted on Sunday of breach of trust.
Yosef, who has served as the coastal city’s chief rabbi since 1998, was found guilty in the Tel Aviv District Court on two counts of breach of trust for forcefully demanding that business owners only purchase meat products with a kashrut certificate issued by Beit Yosef, a kosher food supervision service owned by Yosef’s brother, Moshe Yosef.
Yosef, who from 2008 to 2011 served as the head of the kashrut department in Or Akiva as well, allegedly threatened to revoke kashrut certificates if business owners in either city failed to comply with his demands.
After an investigation which began in 2013 Yosef was indicted in December 2015.
Yosef’s brother, Yitzhak Yosef, has served as Israel’s chief Sephardic rabbi since 2013. Their father Ovadia Yosef served as Sephardic chief rabbi from 1973 to 1983 and was also the founder and longtime spiritual leader of the ultra-orthodox Shas party.
Avraham Yosef gives popular classes in Jewish law on a religious radio station. In 2013, Ovadia Yosef declared that Avraham was his favorite candidate to become the country’s chief rabbi, but subsequently transferred his support to younger brother Yitzhak, in part due to the investigation.
Ovadia Yosef died in October 2013 at the age of 93. His funeral in Jerusalem drew some 800,000 mourners, according to some reports, the largest in Israeli history. At his death he was considered the preeminent religious leader of the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox community in Israel.