“X-Ray Rabbi” Dodges Customs, Causes Special Status For VIP Haredi Rabbis To Come Into Question
Two weeks ago, Rabbi Yaakov Ifergan – known throughout the Sefardi haredi world as the X-Ray Rabbi for his purported ability to “see” into the future – flew into Ben Gurion International Airport, dodged customs and went home to the southern Israel town of Netivot. And that exposed a special VIP system set up for haredi rabbis only that allows then to skip lines for boarding, customs and security.
Rabbi Ya'akov Ifergan
“X-Ray Rabbi” Dodges Customs, Causes Special Admor Status For VIP Haredi Rabbis To Come Into Question
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Two weeks ago, Rabbi Ya'akov Ifergan – known throughout the Sefardi haredi world as the X-Ray Rabbi for his purported ability to “see” into the future – flew into Ben Gurion International Airport, dodged customs and went home to the southern Israel town of Netivot.
Ifergan is reportedly one of 47 rabbis who have “Admor [hasidic rebbe] status” at the airport that allows them to avoid all lines and pass through expedited security and customs, Yeshiva World reported based on a report in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv.
Among the rabbis who are reportedly on this special VIP list are major hasidic rebbes, the head of the mainstream non-hasidic haredim Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, Ifergan, other leading Sefardi haredi rabbis (including Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, who is under serious criminal investigation for embezzlement from his charities and money laundering) and the sons of the late Sefardi haredi leader and Shas Party founder Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
The Admor List is reportedly was arranged, approved and authorized by Israel’s Interior Ministry, Customs Authority, Attorney General, Israel Police, Israel Airport Authority and Ministry of Religious Services.
These VIP haredi rabbis are met at incoming planes by special private transports that whisk them to a special private lounge where customs is handled by employees of the private transportation service who act as go-betweens between the rabbis and customs so the rabbis do not have to go through the indignity of dealing with customs officers. The same process happens in reverse with boarding and security.
Two weeks ago, Ifergan – a frequent flier – was whisked to that lounge after arriving on a flight. But rather than have his carry-on bag checked and his customs declaration made, Ifergan reportedly left and went home to the small southern Israel town of Netivot.
The transportation company reportedly phoned Ifergan and told him to return to the airport. Ifergan refused, claiming that he was only ten minutes from his home.
“If we were dealing with a regular traveler, customs agents would have gone to his home to get him,” a customs official reportedly told Maariv.
Customs officials reportedly do not suspect Ifergan was intentionally avoiding them but are still upset by what Ifergan did.
“If customs called the rabbi, believe me he would have turned around and returned as we demanded” a customs official reportedly said.
Ifergan’s spokespeople reportedly said the incident was a misunderstanding caused by a new employee. They also insist that Ifergan was not told to return to the airport, and say that if he had been so instructed, he would have returned.
Despite the X-Ray Rabbi’s claims and his own alleged blindness to the wrongdoing, the Customs Authority will no loner let the Admor list operate as did before Ifergan went on the lam.
From now on, each VIP rabbi’s passport will be held by designated officials until after the customs inspection is complete. That will prevent VIP rabbis from leaving the airport prematurely.