Sunday, May 08, 2005

17 year-old kidnapping/torture victim quoted as saying that Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar was aware of the attack. Chief Rabbi denies.


At 9:31 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...


Amar's son, top left, and other suspects appearing Friday in Tel Aviv court. (Motti Kimche)

Last update - 06:44 08/05/2005

Chief Rabbi Amar denies involvement in attack of daughter's beau

By Roni Singer, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar has issued an official statement denying his involvement in the kidnapping and beating of an ultra-Orthodox youth who had a relationship with Amar's 18-year-old daughter Ayala, Israel Radio reported Sunday morning.

Ayala, Amar's son Meir and their mother, Mazal, were arrested last Thursday on suspicion of participating in the abduction and assault of the 17-year-old Bnei Brak resident, who met Ayala in an Internet chat room.

The police suspect that Meir Amar, 31, is behind the attack, because the family disapproved of his relationship with Ayala.


On Friday, the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court extended Meir Amar's remand and ordered the rabbi's wife and daughter to house arrest. Police said they have solid evidence the three were involved in the attack and that they expect indictments shortly, Israel Radio reported Sunday.

"Of course, the rabbi was not involved in the affair," his office was quoted as saying in a statement.

The chief rabbi has expressed his regret for the incident and said he would cooperate with the police investigation of the case, the radio said. Police do not know if he is involved in the affair, but they are expected to question the rabbi after he returns Tuesday from his trip to Thailand.

In an article published Sunday, the mass-circulation daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted the youth who was assualted as saying the rabbi was aware of the attack.

The affair, which became public on Friday afternoon following the cancellation of a gag order, began three months ago. The rabbi's daughter Ayala, who lives in Jerusalem, met the youth from Bnei Brak while surfing on the Internet. After exchanging e-mails for a while, the two became romantically involved and went on a few dates, where they did no more than talk.

Sonn afterward, Amar's family found out about the relationship. Ayala testified that they asked her to stop seeing the boy immediately, but that she nevertheless continued chatting with him online.

When the family realized that Ayala was still in touch with the boy, they apparently decided to deter him. Police suspect the rabbi's wife asked her eldest son Meir to intervene.

Meir left his parents' home at the age of 13 and is not religiously observant. He has a criminal record, no fixed address and occasionally spends the night at the settlement of Tekoa or in the Israeli Arab town of Kalansua.

About ten days ago, Meir, Ayala and two of Meir's friends from Kalansua, Ahmed and Abdallah Suwalme, drove to Bnei Brak.

Ayala told the police, "They told me to get out of the car ... and to go with them to his house, so I took them. They told me to ring the bell and tell him to come down, and I did."

The group drove to the corner of Ezra and Nehemia streets in Bnei Brak, where they met the youth. One of the passengers threatened him with a knife to get into the car, he later told police. They then forced his head down, to prevent him from seeing where they were driving.

The group drove to Kalansua, where the youth was taken to an apartment and subjected to "Clockwork Orange style abuse," Dan sub-district police investigation unit Chief Superintendent Alon Grossman said.

"The three beat him badly all night. They cut off his sidecurls and his skullcap, kicked him, spat on him and verbally abused him," Grossman said. Meanwhile, Ayala waited nearby.

They brought the boy to the chief rabbi's house in Jerusalem at about 6 A.M. the following day, at which point they continued to beat him, in the living room. Police believe the rabbi's wife was sleeping in the next room. They are trying to verify whether the chief rabbi was also sleeping in the house at the time.

Police said the boy described the inside of the rabbi's house in accurate detail.

After they decided he had learned his lesson, the suspects allegedly gave him NIS 20 for the bus and released him. He took a bus to Petah Tikva and checked into Beilinson Hospital, Rabin Medical Center. The police opened an investigation after receiving the hospital's report of the boy's injuries.

Meir Amar has confessed to the accusations against him, but denies that his mother was involved. Ayala was arrested on suspicion of failing to stop the beatings.

The suspects' attorney, Benny Katz, said that family had no knowledge of the incident.

Beating took place in his own home. Rabbi Shlomo Amar Photo: GPO

Chief rabbi may be questioned by police

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s son suspected of kidnapping, beating his sister’s suitor; police to examine whether Amar was aware of goings on
Avi Cohen and Ilan Marciano

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar may be investigated following the April 26 kidnapping and beating of his daughter’s suitor.

A Clockwork Orange

Chief rabbi's son arrested for kidnapping / By Avi Cohen

The daughter, son and wife of Israel's Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar were arrested Thursday on suspicions of kidnapping a religious youth who had dated the rabbi's daughter
Full story

Amar’s daughter, son and wife were arrested Thursday on suspicions of kidnapping a religious youth who had dated the rabbi's daughter.

Although police sources told Ynet Saturday that as of now there is no evidence linking the rabbi to the incident, they estimated that in any case he would have to present his version to investigators.

The only question remaining is whether he would be interrogated under warning, the sources said.

Investigators are set to determine whether the rabbi was aware of the violent incident, part of which took place in his own home.

In order to question the rabbi, who is scheduled to return to Israel from Thailand on Tuesday, police must obtain the Attorney General Menachem Mazuz's authorization.

Rabbi Amar’s aide, Shlomo Farber, told Ynet the rabbi is examining the possibility of returning to Israel earlier than planned.

Sources close to the rabbi contended he was unaware of the kidnapping.

The affair raises another troubling question: Did senior politicians attempt to prevent the affair’s publication to protect Amar?

Amar is the protégé of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and is connected to top Likud party members.

Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra staunchly denied claims any pressure was put on himself or on the police regarding the affair.

“I have not spoken to anyone, and no politician has intervened in the investigation,” he said.

Reminiscent of ‘A Clockwork Orange’

The rabbi's 18-year-old daughter, Ayala, met a 17-year-old ultra-Orthodox youngster three months ago through an Internet chat.

However, the Amar family did not approve of the relationship.

The rabbi's son Meir Amar, who has been leading a secular life for the past 20 year's and has a criminal record, is the prime suspect in the investigation.

After failed attempts to convince the couple to end their relationship, Amar contacted two acquaintances, brothers Ahmed and Abdullah Sawalma from the Israeli Arab town of Kalansua, and together they planned the kidnapping.

According to police officials, the rabbi’s daughter coaxed the youngster into meeting her at a street in the religious town of Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, where he was pushed into a car and kidnapped at knifepoint by the rabbi’s son.

The officials said the youth was beaten and threatened during the drive to an apartment in Kalansua.

“When they took him up to the apartment I stayed in the car the whole time, and did not see what they were doing to him,” the rabbi’s daughter said during questioning.

Police suspect the youngster was beaten for four hours, as if from a “Clockwork Orange “ scene, unaware that his kidnapper was the brother of his girlfriend.

The youth was taken to Jerusalem the following morning where his kidnappers continued to beat him in the rabbi’s home.

(05.07.05, 22:53)

At 9:48 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Updated story:

May. 6, 2005 16:55 | Updated May. 8, 2005 0:46
Police to question Sephardi chief rabbi over kidnapping

In the courtroom Meir Amar, 31, covers his sister Ayala Amar, 18, with his sweater to shield the embarrassed adolescent from cameras.

Ayala Amar, 18, allegedly met a Bnei Brak youth over the Internet and developed a relationship with him of which her family disapproved.


Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar issued a first statement late Saturday in response to the arrest of his wife, daughter and son on suspicion of kidnapping and assaulting a 17-year-old haredi youth who was involved in a romantic relationship with Amar's 18-year-old daughter.

"The rabbi had absolutely no involvement in the affair. The Amar family will cooperate fully with police investigators," the statement read.

Rabbi Amar, according to Army Radio, deeply regretted harming the youth and added that he had tried to rehabilitate his son, who turned secular, and will continue doing so in the future as well.

Amar, currently on a business trip in Thailand, is scheduled to return to Israel on Tuesday and would most certainly be questioned to ascertain his involvement in the kidnapping affair, police said on Saturday.

Police would first need to receive authorization from Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to question Amar – whose position as chief rabbi is equivalent to the status of Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak.

The wife, daughter and son of Rabbi Amar were arrested by Tel Aviv police in connection with the alleged kidnapping and beating of a 17-year-old haredi youth involved in a romantic relationship with the rabbi's 18-year-old daughter, it was released for publication on Friday.

Ayala Amar, 18, the rabbi's daughter, met the 17-year-old boy from Bnei Brak over the Internet some three months ago, police said. Meir Amar – the rabbi's 31-year-old estranged son who turned secular some 20 years ago - appears to have been the mastermind behind the kidnapping.

While police are still investigating whether the rabbi or his wife played a role in the affair, Meir has meanwhile confessed to the kidnapping insisting it was done at his initiative to "save family honor" without the influence of any family member.

On Friday, the three were brought to the Tel Aviv District Court, which lifted the publication ban after extending Meir's remand by an additional eight days.

Ayala and her mother Mazal were released to house arrest.

The story began on the night of April 26, when Meir forced Ayala to call up her boyfriend and convince him to come down to the street in front of his apartment in Bnei Brak. Meir, who was hiding inside the car, jumped out and ordered the youth to get into the car at knife point.

Meir and Ayala then drove to the Arab village of Kalansua where two of Meir's acquantinces – Abdullah and Ahmed Maslawah, whose remand was also extended by eight days – tied up the youth, cut off his sidelocks, cut his kippa in half and beat him for several hours while warning him to stay away from Ayala.

In the morning, the youth was taken to the Amar home in Jerusalem, were the beating continued. Police said they know for certain that Mazal Amar, the rabbi's wife, was home at the time, but have yet to determine whether she played an active role in the beating.

While police suspect Meir was the masterminded behind the kidnapping, they noted on Friday that someone from within the family – most probably his mother - told him about Ayala's illicit relationship and asked him to "take care of the problem."

"For now we know for certain that she [Mazal] was in the apartment at the time the youth was held there," said Dep.-Cmdr. Alon Grossman, head of the Tel Aviv Police's Investigations Department. "Did she get involved in the beating or not? That question we have yet to answer."

Police said according to several versions of the story that they have heard the rabbi himself was also home at the time of the beating. Other versions indicate he was not present. Either way, police said, they expect Amar to give a statement upon his return from Thailand.

The youth was eventually released, only after undergoing what police called a "field trial" during which he was warned by Meir to stay away from Ayala and not to complain to the police. The youth was let off in Jerusalem and went to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah where he was treated for his injuries. The hospital filed a complaint with the police, which immediately launched an investigation.

Grossman said there was a feeling among the investigators that the family was doing its utmost to cover up for Rabbi Amar. "In all families, especially in such a respectable family, the family members try to cover up for one another," he said.

While acknowledging his family disapproved of the relationship, Eliayhu Amar – the rabbi's son and his assistant who was present at court on Friday – told reporters the kidnapping was not a family plot but was planned and initiated solely by his brother Meir.

"To our great sorrow, our parents cry tears over Meir because they are hurt
that their child has cut off all ties with home," Eliyahu said. "He has acquired a mentality that has nothing to do with the house and that's what led him to do what he has done."

The family had wanted to teach the youth that this sort of relationship was unacceptable according to their religious codes, Grossman said. "The whole point was to end this connection, to separate them and to teach him a lesson for next time," he added.

If police decide to question Amar he will join his colleague, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger, who is also currently under a police investigation regarding allegations that a Jerusalem hotel granted him unlawful benefits.


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