Israeli Orthodox Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg, until recently head of a yeshiva and other institutions in Tzfat and Kiryat Shmona, was arrested by Israeli police at Ben Gurion Airport as he attempted to flee the country. His name may not be reported in Israel according to a judicial gag order obtained by the police. He stands accused by married women among his followers of engaging in sexual acts and rape. He was removed from his state-funded post after the investigation began.
Sheinberg was ordained by Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, then the former chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel. The elder Rabbi Eliyahu appointed his son, Shmuel, the chief rabbi of Tzfat. The younger Eliyahu is a notorious bigot known throughout the country for his racist views toward Palestinians.
Sheinberg founded a pre-military yeshiva in Tzfat in 1999. This phenomenon has contributed markedly to the massive increases in settler officers and a rightist slant among the IDF officer corps. He also led 3,000 settlers in prayer at Joseph’s Tomb a holy site in Nablus under contention between radical settlers and Muslims.
Sheinberg has cultivated relationships with the Israeli Orthodox women’s community. This rebbetzin even boasts of taking spiritual and halachic supervision from him. I imagine this passage may disappear from her website soon (unless she is one of his victims).
The yeshiva he founded, Yeshivat Ha’Ari, has removed his biographical page, which is preserved here (in Hebrew).
In a similar development, Rabbi Eliezer Berland is resisting deportation from Holland to Israel, where he stands accused of similar sexual crimes. Berland has taken to donning his full religious regalia in court hearings, including tallit and tefillin. This is certainly not just an exploitation, but a perversion of Judaism in order to save the neck of an accused sex abuser. It would make Moses roll over in his grave and should make most Jews sick to their stomach.