A series of arrests in a suspected fraud and bribery scandal at the highest levels of Israel’s tax system shocked the public this week, with some analysts saying it could be more damaging to the country’s stability than terrorist attacks. The arrests Tuesday of 22 current and former tax officials — including Tax Authority Director Jackie Matza and his predecessor, Eitan Rub — followed a nearly yearlong probe into allegations that businessmen had for years influenced decisions in the Tax Authority.
Israeli President Moshe Katsav suspended himself this week to fight sex charges, including rape, that the state’s senior law officer planned to file. But some government officials and the media said that wasn’t good enough and called for the president’s immediate resignation or ouster.
“In the present situation it is impossible to educate students to respect the presidential institution and ask them to hang pictures in every school of a president charged with grave offenses,” Education Minister Yuli Tamir was quoted as saying.
Rabbi Milton Balkany, a Republican fund-raiser who reportedly raised $100,000 for President George W. Bush's campaign, was arrested Tuesday on federal fraud charges for allegedly misusing a $700,000 grant intended for disabled preschoolers. The rabbi, it is charged, used some of the money to pay his federal income taxes and life insurance premiums.
One day after pleading guilty to attempted child endangerment charges after being caught in a police Internet sex sting operation, Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum said he is "incredibly thankful" that there were no victims and that he "did not in fact engage in any inappropriate things with minors."
In a phone interview Wednesday morning, Rabbi Kestenbaum, 54, of Highland Park, N.J., said he had experienced a "personal lapse on the computer for which I do not excuse myself."
It has come to this for Norman Finkelstein: Back home in the Brooklyn of his youth, living alone in his deceased father’s rent-stabilized apartment on Ocean Parkway, just a few blocks from where the white-hot controversial professor grew up.
No more loyal students, no more lectures to prepare, no more radio debates with his arch-enemy, Alan Dershowitz, no more national spotlight; Finkelstein is the man no one wants, and perhaps for good reason.
Wouldn't you know it: Deep Throat turns out to be a Jewish story. It so happens that Richard Nixon was so paranoid about a Jewish conspiracy out to get him that it even carried over to his search for Deep Throat.
It didn’t take long for the jokes to start making the rounds in response to the latest rabbis-as-(alleged)-crooks scandal. There was the one about the latest Friday-night practical halacha shiur, or class, on “ankle monitors on Shabbat,” and another about the shul charity auction offering a new category: kidneys.