Monday, May 09, 2005

Police say they have collected sufficient evidence to press charges against Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar's wife, daughter and son.

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At 7:39 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

1)
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May. 9, 2005 3:01
Rabbi Shlomo Amar's wife, kids to be charged
By YAAKOV KATZ AND MATI WAGNER

Police said Sunday they had collected sufficient evidence to press charges against Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar's wife, daughter and son in connection with the alleged kidnapping and beating of a 17-year-old haredi youth romantically involved with Amar's 18-year-old daughter.

"We believe we have sufficient evidence to press charges against the suspects and will recommend that the prosecution do so," said a senior police officer involved in the investigation.

The officer stressed that police have yet to obtain concrete evidence against Amar, who is currently in Thailand on business and is scheduled to return on Tuesday. Police confirmed that Amar was at home when the youth was brought to the family's Jerusalem apartment following a night of abuse in Kalansua, but said there were conflicting versions regarding his level of involvement in the affair.

Ayala Amar, the rabbi's daughter, met the 17-year-old boy from Bnei Brak over the Internet some three months ago, police said. Meir – the chief rabbi's 31-year-old estranged son who turned secular some 15 years ago – kidnapped the youth in an effort to persuade him to break off the relationship with his sister.

During the night of the kidnapping last month, Meir took the youth to Kalansua where two of his acquaintances – Abdullah and Ahmed Maslawah – tied him up, cut off his peyot, cut his kippa in half and beat him for several hours. In the morning, the youth was taken to the Amar home, were the beating continued.

On Sunday, police confronted Amar's wife Mazal with the abducted youth. During the confrontation, the youth reportedly told police the chief rabbi was not only present while he was beaten, but also knew of the abduction. Police have said they intend to request permission from Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to question Amar upon his return.

While police suspect Meir was the mastermind behind the kidnapping, they said he was ordered to do so by his mother, who told him of Ayala's illicit relationship and asked him to "take care of the problem."

On Friday, the three Amar family members were brought to Tel Aviv District Court which extended Meir's remand by an additional eight days. Ayala and her mother were released to house arrest.
Sources close to Amar said Sunday that while he admits to being home at the time of the alleged beating, he was not aware of the abduction.

"Maybe that boy was brought to the rabbi's house in the early morning hours when Amar was sleeping," one source said. "But that does not mean the rabbi was aware of what was going on."

"First, the rabbi's apartment is big and the distance from the family room to the bedroom is far enough so that the rabbi probably never heard anything," the source added. "In addition, there are always people coming and going at the rabbi's house. It's like a train station. So even if the rabbi saw the boy on his way to morning prayers, it is not clear he would think twice about it."

"Rabbi Amar is a respected Torah figure. If he would have known about the kidnapping and the beating he would have stopped it immediately," he said.

Sources close to Amar placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Meir, who left home some 15 years ago. Of Amar's 12 children – four boys and eight girls – Meir is the only one who abandoned religion.

Sources close to Amar also rejected claims that Ayala reciprocated the young man's love. These sources said that the youth is a known haredi juvenile delinquent.

"He forced himself on her against her will. The brother found out and decided to do something about it," one source said.

The youth belongs to a well-respected Sephardi family in Bnei Brak. Since he is a minor, there is a police ban on the publishing his name.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual mentor of Shas, spoke by phone with Amar. "I am sure everything will work for the better in the end," he told him. "I pray that God will bring your son back to the fold."

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May. 9, 2005 2:52
Amars earn haredi respect for zealotry
By MATI WAGNER

The zealous administering of quick and violent justice by the Amar family in reaction to revelations of forbidden love will glorify Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar in the eyes of the haredi public, haredi sources said Sunday.

"Rabbi Amar is seen as a kind of righteous zealot, like Pinhas," said Yishai Weiner a veteran haredi journalist who lives in Bnei Brak, the epicenter of the imbroglio and the Amar family's home town. Weiner was referring to Pinhas, the grandson of Aaron, who put an end to a plague on the Israelites by spearing to death a Midianite woman and a Jewish man who were engaging in illicit sexual relations.

Other Bnei Brak veterans concurred. "People in Bnei Brak respect the Amar family for putting an end to an embarrassing incident," said a student at the prestigious Ponevezh Yeshiva, based in Bnei Brak.

"Few people here read secular newspapers or rely on the Internet," said Weiner. "None of the haredi papers are writing about it. So a homegrown version of the story has emerged based on hearsay."

According to secular papers, Amar's daughter allegedly fell in love with a young man from Bnei Brak whom she met via a haredi chat-room on the Tapuz Internet site.

But according to Bnei Brak "mikveh-nayes" [bathhouse news], the boy, who comes from a prominent Sephardi family, harassed the girl.
According to the secular papers, it is still unclear who initiated the kidnapping and violent attack on the young man.

But in Bnei Brak the conclusion is unequivocal: Mazal Amar, the rabbi's wife, ordered her wayward son to "take care of the boy."

"Most people in Bnei Brak think that boy got off too easily," said Weiner. "What are a few bruises? They should have broken some bones."

"Even if an investigation is opened against Rabbi Amar and he ends up being indicted, the haredi public will come out decidedly in his favor," added Weiner. "People will say that the Zionists are out to get him."

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May. 9, 2005 2:49
Amar's wayward son
By YAAKOV KATZ AND MATI WAGNER

Branded the "wayward son," Meir Amar – son of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and believed to have been the mastermind behind the abduction and beating of his 18-year-old sister's boyfriend – was until this week the only skeleton in the Amar family's closet.

Described as "hyperactive and problematic" as a child, Meir Amar, 31, left "the religious path" at the age of 13 and began a new life.

"All his life he has wandered aimlessly," said a source close to the family. Rumors in the haredi street claim that Amar has tattoos all over his body.

He apparently spent close to five years traveling throughout the Far East, where he got into trouble with Thai authorities. After returning to Israel, he was married and shortly after divorced. He is known to Israel Police as he has had several run-ins with the law.

Over the years, Amar became friendly with and, according to some reports lived with Beduin and Arabs. Two of Meir Amar's Israeli Arab friends have also been arrested for participation in the abduction and beating.

"Back in Israel he spent a long time with Beduin and Arabs and people even say he speaks Arabic better than Hebrew," the source added. "Maybe he got the idea to resort to violence as a way of protecting the family name from his Bedouin friends."

Eliyahu Amar – another son of the chief rabbi – said on Friday that the kidnapping was planned and initiated solely by his brother, Meir.

"To our great sorrow, our parents cry 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 [our] house and that's what led him to do what he has done."

 

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