Monday, December 04, 1989

Case of Rabbi Haim Pardes

Case of Rabbi Haim Pardes
(AKA: Chaim Pardes)
Rehov Frishman synagogue
Former President of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court - Tel Aviv Israel

Convicted of sexually blackmailing" and performing "licentious acts" with women who sought his counsel in a synagogue. Pardes was sentenced to six months in prison and given an 18-month suspended prison sentence and fined 25,000 shekels ($12,500).

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Table of Contents:  

  1. Rabbi Named in Sex-For-Divorce Scandal (12/04/1989)
  2. Police Interrogate Rabbinical Court Judges About Sex-Bribe Allegations  (12/05/1989)
  3. Police and Thieves  (12/15/1989)

  1. D.A. Gets Sex-Case File Against TA Rabbi  (01/11/1990)
  2. Top Of The News - World  (12/07/1990)

  1. Rabbi Starts 6 Months in Jail for Sex Abuse  (01/01/1992)
  2. Prosecutors Joins MK's Plea to Discipline Judge (05/23/1992)

  1. Chief Rabbi of Ariel accused of rape (08/31/2004)


Rabbi Named In Sex-For-Divorce Scandal
by Andy Goldberg and Haim Shapiro
The Jerusalem Post - December 4, 1989

TEL AVIV - Rabbi Haim Pardes, head of the local rabbinical court, is facing a police investigation into suspicions that he asked a woman for sexual favour in order to speed up her divorce proceedings.

Police are still waiting for permission from Attorney-General Yosef Harish to interrogate Pardes, as Pardes has the legal standing of a district court judge. The initial finding of the police investigation were transferred to Harish's office late last week.

The national fraud squad has already interrogated people connected with the allegations against Pardes, including two senior clerks of the court and the woman he allegedly approached.

Police believe that Pardes had been dealing with the woman's divorce case for some seven years when he suggested to her that they meet alone in a room at a North Tel Aviv synagogue. In return he promised to speed up the courts' treatment of her divorce proceedings.

The woman apparently recorded her conversations with Pardes and afterwards used the tape to force him to accelerate treatment of her case and to blackmail him.

Rabbinical circles expressed shock over the allegations.

Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, director of the rabbinical courts, told The Jerusalem Post yesterday that no action would be taken against Pardes at this stage. It was not necessary to suspend a rabbinical court judge unless he had actually been charged with a crime, Ben-Dahan said.

According to the daily Yediot Ahronot, which first broke the story, Rabbi David Einhorn, assistant director of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court, was also suspected of accepting bribes.


Police Interrogate Rabbinical Court Judges About Sex-Bribe Allegations
By Andy Goldberg
The Jerusalem Post - December 5, 1989

The rabbinical court judge at the centre of a sex-for-divorce scandal was interrogated for seven hours yesterday by officers of the Jaffa-based National Fraud Division.

Rabbi Haim Pardess, 54, was released on his own recognizance after the interrogation and praised his investigators for "their fair and correct treatment."

The police are investigating allegations that Pardess solicited sexual favours from women in return for speeding up treatment of their divorce proceedings. One woman told officers last month that Pardess had been dealing with her divorce case for about seven years when he suggested that they meet alone in a room he had at his disposal at a local synagogue. In return for such a meeting, he promised to expedite the court's handling of her divorce. The woman apparently recorded her conversations with Pardess and afterwards used the tape to force him to expedite her case and to blackmail him for NIS 20,000.

Officers have already questioned several persons connected with the allegations against Pardess.

Pardess's attorney, Dr. Ya'acov Weinroth, told The Jerusalem Post that his client had cooperated fully with the police. He did not know whether Pardess would be summoned for further questioning. He said that the police did not have in their possession any tape recording that incriminated Pardess.

Rabbinical court judges have the legal standing of district court judges, whose interrogation is permitted only with the approval of the attorney-general. Yosef Harish granted this approval in Pardess's case on Sunday.

"I am very happy that I have had the opportunity to give my version of events and explode the baseless allegations against me," Pardess told Kol Yisrael radio after his interrogation.

He was highly critical of the press for publishing the story and his identity before he had been charged. He told reporters that he planned to continue working as usual despite the allegations and said he hoped that "with God's help the truth will out."

Police and Thieves 
Jerusalem Post - December 15, 1989

The police probe into suspected corruption at the Tel Aviv rabbinical court has not stopped at the sexual favours allegedly demanded by the court's chief, Rabbi Haim Pardes, in return for the speedy handling of divorce cases. In addition, the Jaffa-based Fraud Division is checking out suspicions that court clerks also accepted bribes related to cases.

To date, three women have lodged complaints against Pardes, two of them claiming that he sexually assaulted them after luring them into a room in a Rehov Frishman synagogue saying that he would expedite their divorce requests.

Police sources say the investigation has yielded indications of corruption on a far wider scale than initially believed, and that numerous court workers would be interrogated.

Details of a daring operation deep in Lebanon by officers of the elite Tel Aviv Central Unit were disclosed this week in a star-studded Mann Auditorium variety show celebrating the unit's 30th anniversary.

In late 1987, Eli Arazi, a top underworld figure, reported to police that he had been hired to transfer some two tons of hashish and heroin from Lebanon to Israel. Despite suspecting a hostage-taking trap by terrorists, detectives of the central unit and the anti-terror group manned the drug-running ship. The drugs were transferred to the ship near Jounieh and brought to Israel where they were transferred to four men who were meant to deliver them to the buyers. On the way from the port, however, the vehicle broke down. Police arrested the couriers but never caught up with the drug's buyers.

A drug-dealer was sentenced to seven years in jail by the Tel Aviv district court after one of his clients turned state's witness and tape-recorded two drug transactions. Every week, for some nine months, the dealer, Yoav Lavi, 29, of Bat Yam, supplied 30-50 grams of cocaine and heroin to a man named Shlomo. The cocaine cost $70 per gram and the heroin $250. When Shlomo was caught by police in possession of 30 grams of the drugs, he agreed to collect evidence in return for having the charges against him dropped.

Police outfitted him with a hidden microphone, and he recorded his next two meetings with Lavi. These recordings later formed the main part of the prosecution's case.


D.A. Gets Sex-Case File Against TA Rabbi
The Jerusalem Post - January 22, 1990

TEL AVIV - Police have transferred to the District Attorney's Office details of their investigation into complaints of sexual assault against Haim Pardes, the head rabbi of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court. The Jaffa-based National Fraud Division began investigating Pardes late last year after two women complained that he had promised to speed up treatment of their divorce cases in return for sexual favours.

In separate and unrelated complaints, the women charged that Pardes had invited them into a room in the Tel Aviv synagogue where he officiates and then indecently assaulted them. One woman claimed that Pardes had offered her NIS 20,000, if she did not report him to the police. Police investigators said that such an amount had been withdrawn from the rabbi's bank account.

Pardes continues to work as usual after having told police investigators in November that he had not committed the offences attributed to him. Pardes's status in the rabbinical court is equivalent to that of a district court judge and a decision to prosecute him can only be taken by order of the attorney general.


Top Of The News - World
From Wire Dispatches and Staff Reports

The Washington Times - December 7, 1990

TEL AVIV, Israel - A court jailed a senior rabbi for six months yesterday after finding him guilty of "sexually blackmailing" women who sought his counsel and of having sexual relations in a synagogue, court sources said.

Rabbi Haim Pardes, chief of Tel Aviv's rabbinical tribunal, committed "licentious acts" with women who appeared before him and he confessed to having sexual relations in a synagogue, according to the sources.

He was also given an 18-month suspended prison sentence and fined 25,000 shekels ($12,500) for "shamefully taking advantage of his judicial status and of the distress of the women who appeared before him." Rabbinical tribunals in Israel are charged with marital affairs and conversions to Judaism.

Shulat Aloni, a lawmaker for the Civil Rights Party, argued that the sentence against Rabbi Pardes was too lenient. Mrs. Aloni called for a review by the high court.


Rabbi Starts 6 Months in Jail for Sex Abuse
By Michael Rotem
The Jerusalem Post - January 1, 1991

TEL AVIV - The former chairman of the local rabbinical court convicted of sexually abusing women is to start his prison term today.

A court here rejected Rabbi Haim Pardes's offer to do community service work, instead of going to prison, as a part of a plea bargain.

Pardes was sentenced on December 6 by a district court here to imprisonment and fined after being convicted of committing obscene sexual acts, fraud and breach of trust.

The sentence was handed down after a plea bargain was accepted. In return for his confessing to having committed the obscene sexual acts, Pardes was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, an 18-month suspended sentence and a fine of NIS 25,000.

In its original verdict, the court decided that the rabbi would do community service.

The offer made by the special comissioner of community service to the court was that Pardes would work arranging and translating holy texts in a library for the blind. The judges, however, objected, saying that this work "was suitable for a high school student on vacation."

In one of the cases on which Pardes was convicted, he met with a mother of two daughters in his chamber to discuss her alimony claim. During one of their meetings, he sexually molested her.

A source in the Prison's Authority said yesterday there was no decision on where the rabbi would serve his term.

Prosecutors Joins MK's Plea to Discipline Judge

The Jerusalem Post - May 23, 1991

In an unusual move, the State Prosecutor's Office yesterday supported MK Yair Tsaban's petition asking the High Court of Justice to order that the pension of Rabbi Haim Pardes, president of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court sentenced to six months in prison for indecent acts, bribery and violating a trust, be stopped and that he be brought before a disciplinary hearing.

After the State Prosecution's move, the High Court issued an order nisi instructing Pardes to show within 30 days why the decision of the judicial appointments committee which awarded him a pension should not be overturned and why the president of the Supreme Rabbinical Court has not fulfilled his responsibility to bring him before a disciplinary hearing.

In his petition, Tsaban said that it was obvious that a judge convicted of such serious offenses should face a disciplinary hearing. Pardes, he noted, managed to avoid this by resigning his position when the charges were brought against him. He also maintained that he should not have been granted any pension, let alone the same one as judges who honorably retired from the bench.


Chief Rabbi of Ariel accused of rape
Maariv - Hebrew edition
August 31, 2004

הרב נעצר בחשד שאנס אישה שהגיעה להתייעץ עמו, ואף הטריד אותה בשיחות טלפון

  טל ימין-וולבוביץ'
31/8/2004  10:54

הרב הראשי של אריאל נעצר הבוקר בחשד למעשה אונס באישה שהגיעה לבקש את עזרתו.

האישה, שנזקקה לעזרת הרב, הגיעה בתקופה האחרונה אל משרדו כדי להתייעץ איתו בנושא אישי. על-פי החשד, הרב ניצל את קרבתו לאישה ולאחר הייעוץ, אנס אותה בכוח. הוא לא הסתפק בכך, ואף הטריד אותה בטלפון לאחר המקרה. האישה, שלא יכלה לעמוד בהטרדות, נשברה והתלוננה במשטרה.

למרות התלונה, משטרת יהודה ושומרון לא יכלה לעצור בתחילה את הרב, מאחר שמדובר באישיות ציבורית. רק בהמשך, לאחר שהוצאו אישורים מיוחדים, פתחה המשטרה בחקירה סמויה שבסופה נעצר הרב בסמוך לביתו.

בשעות הצהריים יובא הרב להארכת מעצרו בבית משפט השלום בכפר-סבא. על כל פרטי החקירה הוטל צו איסור פרסום, ו-NRG מעריב הגיש בקשה לבית המשפט להסיר את הצו.

הרב שלמה עמאר, הרב הראשי הספרדי לישראל אמר: "כל זמן שאין שום הוכחה מוצקה, אנחנו בוחרים שלא להגיב".

לא מדובר במקרה ראשון של מעשה מגונה שמיוחס לרב. הרב זאב קופולוביץ, לשעבר ראש ישיבת "נתיב מאיר", הורשע על- פי הודאתו בהטרדות מיניות שביצע בתלמידיו. ונשלח בעיסקת טיעון לשלוש וחצי שנות מאסר.

בשנת 1999 נידון הרב חיים פרדס לשישה חודשי מאסר בפועל לאחר שהורשע בביצוע מעשים מגונים בנשים, מירמה והפרת אמונים.


Translated to English using Google Translate

Great city of Ariel suspected of rape

Rabbi arrested for allegedly raping a woman who came to consult him , and harassed her with phone calls

 Phone right - and Mabovich
31/08/2004 10:54

Chief Rabbi Ariel was arrested this morning on suspicion of raping a woman actually came to ask for his help.

The woman , who needed the aid of the rabbi, recently came to his office to consult him on the subject personally. The - allegedly used the proximity to great woman and consultation , raped her by force. Is not satisfied , and harassed her on the phone after the incident . The woman , who could not stand the harassment , broke down and complained to the police.

Despite the complaint, Judea and Samaria police could not stop the rabbi first , since it is a public personality . Only later , after the special permits issued , the police arrested an undercover investigation after which Rabbi near his home.

Afternoon will be great to extend his detention in the village magistrate - Grandpa. The details of the investigations imposed the gag order , and NRG Ma'ariv applied to the court to remove the order.

Rabbi Shlomo Amar , the Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel said : "As long as there is no solid proof , we choose not to respond."

This is not the first case of indecent acts attributed to Rabbi . Rabbi Zev Kopolovitz, former head of Yeshivat "Path Meir " , was convicted - though he admits sexual harassment committed by his students . And sent a plea bargain to three and a half years in prison.

In 1999, Rabbi Haim Pardes was sentenced to six months in prison after being convicted of molesting women , fraud and breach of trust.

Rabbis who go off the rails
By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester
Jewish Chronical (London) - July 6, 2006

Is it wrong to shop a straying rabbi to the authorities? And should he be treated as an outcast if he falls from grace? Rabbi Gideon Sylvester on how to cope with errant clerics

Rabbinical scandals are rare, but the religious world has been shaken in recent years by the conviction or impending trials of several high-profile rabbis on charges of sexual abuse. When a community learns that the person who taught them Torah, shared their joyous moments and comforted them through their crises stands accused of immoral conduct, they face difficult dilemmas.

Should they give credence to stories that could destroy his life or dismiss the accusations, risking further assaults and causing pain to those who came forward to report the misdemeanours? If the rabbi is found guilty, then the trauma for his followers is magnified as they find themselves re-evaluating every moment that he spent with them, sifting the genuine from the sham, and trying to understand what it means to have their spiritual leader exposed as a criminal.

Although the Talmud openly discusses the mishaps of rabbis who occasionally yielded to temptation, our sources reveal little precedent for recent falls from grace. The closest we come is the conduct of the first-century scholar, Rabbi Elisha ben Abuya — a brilliant man who became a bitter heretic and found horrific ways to vent his anger.

Once Elisha ben Abuya lost his faith, he would visit schools and disrupt lessons, using his charismatic personality to persuade pupils to abandon their studies and seek work elsewhere. On one trip, Elisha invited students to recite biblical verses. One by one, they related passages declaring that there was no hope for the wicked. For Elisha, these citations sent a clear, personal message; he could never repent and would never return to the fold. Frustrated by his situation and exasperated by the innocence of the children sitting before him, he knifed a young boy and carved his body into pieces.

While other versions of the story suggest that he only threatened, but did not carry out, these gruesome acts, the Jerusalem Talmud amplifies his guilt, stating that he murdered several promising students. Whichever version is correct, Elisha had become a cruel, manipulative man with a malign effect on the community.

Once they had dealt with the trial and punishment of Elisha, the rabbis faced a dilemma. Elisha ben Abuya had been their teacher and their inspiration. Now that he had been exposed as a dangerous criminal, how were they to view the Torah he had taught them? Should they discard all his ideas as the misguided thoughts of a dangerous heretic, or could something be salvaged from his teachings?

Sensitive to those who had based their faith on this man, the rabbis responded that the words of a scholar could be compared to a nut which fell in the mud: its shell was tarnished, but its contents uncontaminated. Though a scholar may sin, his Torah remained pristine.

At the same time, the rabbis issued clear instructions about choosing a teacher. Analysing a verse which describes a priest as an angel of the Lord, they advised: if your teacher is like an angel, then learn from him, but if he is not, then don't make him your mentor. Jewish study is not purely academic and we have a right to demand that our rabbis and teachers live according to the highest standards of morality and religious observance.

But if you think that your rabbi is up to mischief, is it right to report him to the police? The biblical command, "Do not to stand idly by your brother's blood" (Leviticus 19:16), means that, if we see someone who is being viciously attacked, we must use all possible means to save them (Talmud Sanhedrin 73a).

Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg, a leading authority on the beth din of Jerusalem, wrote an extensive responsum on child abuse. Basing his opinion on this verse, he ruled that it would include our obligation to protect people from sexual abuse. Although historically, Jewish law was reticent about handing over Jewish criminals to the non-Jewish courts, where they might suffer injustice and antisemitism, in a country with a fair and effective judicial system, one must report all such crimes to the police.

Preserving human dignity and honouring scholars are important religious principles. But Jewish tradition is clear that even concern for the status of rabbis cannot override our duty to deal with outrages and shield the innocent. Where a crime is committed, religion is brought into disrepute: all concern for the honour of scholars must be put aside.

The story of Elisha ben Abuya reminds us that the Torah recognises human fallibility. Even biblical heroes and outstanding scholars are susceptible to temptation and to mental illness, which can twist and pervert their minds. No one is exempt from the dangers. That is why the rabbis warned all of us: "Do not be complacent about yourself until your dying day."

When there are indications that someone working for the community has succumbed to his worst instincts and poses a public danger, it is the duty of all who are aware to make appropriate inquiries and contact the authorities. This does not create a carte blanche for gossip, but it does mean we must do whatever necessary to ensure that potential victims are protected.

By dealing openly with the few cases of rogue rabbis, we can have confidence that the overwhelming majority of our teachers remain righteous, upstanding spokespeople of the Torah.

Roll of dishonour

n Rabbi Baruch Lanner, dynamic head of America's National Council of Synagogue Youth, was sentenced to seven years in 2002 for molesting girls in his school. He was initially released after five days, pending appeal, but was sent back to prison in 2005.

n Rabbi Mordechai (Marc) Gafni left the Bayit Chadash Synagogue in Tel Aviv this May in the wake of allegations by several women of sexual misconduct. He returned to the USA, admitting he had a "sickness."

n Rabbi Ze'ev Kopolevitch, principal of the prestigious Netiv Meir Yeshivah High School in Jerusalem, was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 1999 for molesting boys.

Gideon Sylvester is an adviser on diaspora affairs in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office



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