Jerusalem rabbinical court clerk accused of taking bribes

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Police in Jerusalem arrested a rabbinical court clerk and his alleged partner on suspicion that they took bribes to interfere with rulings.

Moshe Sabag, a secretary of the registrar of the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem, was arrested Wednesday and his remand was extended by another four days, the Israeli news site kikar.co.il reported.

Police also arrested another person, who was not named, who is suspected of acting as a middleman between Sabag, 30, and individuals allegedly seeking Sabag’s help with matters being reviewed by the court.

In Israel, rabbinical courts act as family courts for Jewish citizens and their judges, or dayanim, are delegated by the justice ministry to make binding rulings, including awarding damages, custody and issuing arrest warrants. They often detain individuals from leaving the country for the duration of legal proceedings.

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Sabag’s lawyer, Elimelech Kurtzweil, said his client was innocent.

“The investigation is ongoing, and I don’t have the body of evidence and am therefore unable to respond to the meat of the allegations, yet I can already say that the claim regarding interference with proceedings is unfounded, and is denied outright,” Kikar.co.il quoted Kurtzweil as saying.

Yet according to the police, who arrested Sabag and his alleged partner at the end of a weeklong undercover sting operation, the two used to split cash payments that interested parties gave the alleged partner for services rendered.

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