Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Say It Ain’t So, Uri

I cannot believe it. I sincerely hope that it is not true.

This man’s reputation for kindness and charity is legendary. He is a true hero of the Charedi world. He is certainly a Charedi Jew that I believed in. My sincere hope is that he will be vindicated and that all the accusations of wrong doing will be proven false.

Yeshiva World News reports that former Jerusalem Mayor - Uri Lupoliansky has been arrested. That’s right. Your read that correctly. This hero of a man has been arrested for financial fraud while in office as deputy mayor of Jerusalem.

This is the same man who created Yad Sarah – a free medical equipment lending organization for the any Israeli - religious or otherwise -who needs it and cannot afford it. This is a man who led Jerusalem as mayor to virtually universal acclaim by all citizens – religious and secular. This is a man who would still be mayor if not for the backroom politics of the religious parties. This is the man who is now been remanded into custody for major financial crimes.

Here are the details as reported in YWN:

According to the information released by officials, the former mayor held numerous positions in Jerusalem City Hall from 1993-2003, then assuming the role of acting mayor following the departure of Ehud Olmert from the post. Lupoliansky was then successful in his mayoral bid.

The state alleges that Lupoliansky accepts millions of NIS in bribe funds, some of which were funneled through his Yad Sarah organization, laundered as donations to the tax-exempt charitable organization.

The former mayor faces charges including breach of trust, bribery, fraud, tax evasion, conspiracy to commit a crime and money laundering. According to the allegations, the former mayor accepted NIS 3 million in bribery funds in the Holyland case, some of which was allegedly laundered via his son’s kollel in addition to Yad Sarah.

Additional arrests in the case are expected.

UPDATE 7:50PM IL: According to investigators, Lupoliansky accepted funds illegally during his tenure as the head of the Jerusalem Planning Board, not during his tenure as mayor. The former city official allegedly accepted bribery funds via a mediator, a third party – not directly, having received NIS 1.5 million by 1999, and an additional NIS 1.4 million by 2006. There is also mention of an additional $30,000; money accepted for his ‘personal use’, funds that were used to his assist his Jerusalem mayoral campaign. There is mention of yet an additional $100,000 which was channeled through his son’s kollel.

It is alleged that in return for the funds, Lupoliansky used his position and influence to advance the agenda of the Holyland developers.

Is there no such thing as an honest religious Jew anymore? If these allegations are God forbid true is there any greater evidence that religious Jewry needs some serious ethical adjustments?

What is going on?!