From the You Could Not Make It Up department:
Bribe-taking ex-chief rabbi invited to speak on ‘Dignity of Rabbinate’
Despite pleading guilty to corruption charges on Tuesday, Yona Metzger was not disinvited to Thursday’s conference
The Times of Israel report says:
Former chief rabbi of Israel was invited to speak at a conference Thursday on the “Dignity of the Rabbinate in Israel” despite pleading guilty on Tuesday for accepting millions of dollars in bribes.
Yona Metzger, who was invited to speak at the conference in the central Israeli city of Kiryat Ono prior to the finalization of Tuesday’s plea deal, canceled his appearance Thursday morning after news of it caused a public backlash.
At least Metzger had the sense to understand it was not appropriate for him to be there.
It’s hard to know if this was a cock-up or a conspiracy. Why would you want a corrupt person speaking about dignity?
This part is darkly funny:
Rabbi Yosef Shloush, who chairs an organization of settlement rabbis that invited Metzger to speak, was quoted by the Walla news site as saying Metzger was invited over two months ago and that, at the time, “he was [only] suspected [of bribery].”
We all know you are innocent till proven guilty. But, to know the serious nature of the charges, and to blindly continue as if there was no potential impact? That’s bordering on stupidity. Indeed, it may have crossed the border.
The Metzger story is another nail in the coffin of any respect the general population used to have for the (so called) leading Rabbis of the State apparatus. At least Zohar knew the right thing to say:
Tzohar, a group of moderate Orthodox rabbis, harshly condemned the conference’s decision to invite Metzger, saying in a statement Thursday that “the fact that Rabbi Metzger was even invited to address a session on enhancing honor for the rabbinate is deeply regrettable and should be construed as nothing less than complete disregard for Torah, morality and the integrity of our community.”
What a bloody mess.