Rabbi of the Efrat Local Council, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, filed a one million shekel ($260,224) damages claim to the Jerusalem District Court on Friday, in a joint move with the Efrat Religious Council.
The lawsuit was filed in response to a defamation suit to the tune of nine million shekel ($2,342,012) filed by a resident of Efrat, Samuel Wasserman, against Rabbi Riskin six months ago.
Wasserman's suit claims Rabbi Riskin denounced him as a "swindler" in a meeting with American businessman who asked the rabbi about his reliability, causing $2.5 million in damages and a lost deal.
Rabbi Riskin and the Efrat religious council have hired the Gilad Corinaldi law firm to represent the case due to its complexities; the firm specializes in strategic legal counsel and complex cases. The law firm consists of a special international working team in cooperation with intelligence agencies which revealed the findings of fraud and conspiracy for which the counterclaim was filed.
In its counterclaim filed by attorney Gilad Corinaldi and Talya Greenstein, the firm suggests that the "American businessmen" referred to in the initial claim are nothing short of Wasserman's personal friends, who embroidered an alleged plan of revenge and extortion to pull Rabbi Riskin into making incriminating statements, with the help of a private investigator, to file a damages suit in the first place.
The counterclaim attached credible evidence that there was no "deal" between Wasserman and one of his friends, with whom he shares a secret bank account at Capital One Bank and another bank in New Jersey.
Wasserman also claimed threats against the "homeowners" and the rabbis of other communities in Efrat, Rabbis Elhanan and Raphael Louis Kadosh, in parallel moves to the suit against Rabbi Riskin.
"The subject of this claim is the unveiling of racketeering and a serious conspiracy formed […] through deception, meticulous work and creative thought," Rabbi Riskin's counter-suit claims.
The counter-suit also alleges that Wasserman's motivation lies in his losing a heated divorce battle with his ex-wife, whom Rabbi Riskin helped – and that Rabbi Riskin apparently noted during that case that Wasserman's behavior was serious and that he had been living a "double life."
The claim further "recognizes that the rabbi acted properly and lawfully in the fulfillment of the role of government, religious duty and public responsibility, to be employed by a public authority," referring, perhaps, as well to the recent rumors that the Chief Rabbinate has been looking to depose Rabbi Riskin for unrelated reasons.
The Efrat Religious Council acted in accordance with the instructions of the Attorney General Ministry of Religious Services, Attorney Yisrael Pat, who directed the religious council to help Rabbi Riskin throughout the legal proceedings.
The counter-suit is based on various damages caused by the very presentation of the claim by Wasserman against Rabbi Riskin, including negligence, fraud, bad faith, abuse of the court, and violation of constitutional rights. The claim and counterclaim by the rabbi's religious council asks for relief for the many and serious damages allegedly caused willfully to the reputation and good name of the rabbi, along with anguish.
Rabbi's lawyer, Attorney Gilad Corinaldi, said in response, "after a long painstaking work, by both legal and intelligence officials, and a worldwide investigation, we exposed the conspiracy against Rabbi Riskin."
"The attempt to harm a rabbi of Israel through fictitious claims, particularly an exemplary rabbi who is a national asset to the intellectual public in Israel and world Jewry, is a very serious act."