Israeli chief rabbi suspends self over fraud probe

JERUSALEM (AP) — One of Israel’s two chief rabbis has suspended himself over a police probe into an alleged money laundering scheme.

Yona Metzger’s lawyers said Sunday he decided to refrain from carrying out any official roles during the police inquiry. Metzger was questioned last week over fraud and bribery allegations. Police raided his home and office following a months-long undercover investigation into his financial dealings. He denies the allegations.

Metzger is only weeks away from ending his 10-year term as the country’s chief rabbi for Israel’s Ashkenazi, or European-descended, Jews. Along with a second chief rabbi from the Sephardic, or Middle Eastern lineage, Metzger has led the country’s supreme body for overseeing Jewish services.

In 2005, Metzger was also questioned over fraud allegations. No charges were filed.

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