For years, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office claimed it was impossible to extradite Avrohom Mondrowitz because the US extradition treaty with Israel did not cover certain man-on-boy sex crimes.*
In January 2007 the treaty changed. It was then that Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn DA, moved to have Mondrowitz brought back to Brooklyn to face justice.
Shortly after that, he moved to extradite Stefan Colmer, another alleged haredi pedophile who fled to Israel. Colmer was returned to Brooklyn early this week. News reports, including one in the NY Post and this one in the Jerusalem Post, note that Colmer is the first man-on-boy pedophile to be extradited from Israel.
This turns out to be false.
In 2005, long before that treaty changed, California sought the extradition from Israel of another man-on-boy pedophile, Michael Leon Zeve. Zeve was jailed in Israel, denied bail, and then extradited to the US in 2005.
The Jerusalem Post incorrectly reports Zeve was extradited in 2007.
The differences between these three cases tell an important story:
- Zeve is not haredi. Colmer and Mondrowitz are.
- Zeve had no powerful protectors in Israel. Neither did Colmer. Mondrowitz has the Gerrer Rebbe and his entourage.
- Colmer is a ba'al teshuva.
- Zeve was accused of committing similar man-on-boy sex crimes in Israel. Mondrowitz and Colmer have not been so accused.
Zeve, the pedophile with the least political connections, positioned farthest from the haredi community and its influence, was extradited without issue.
Even his crimes allegedly committed in Israel tell a story.
Most crime committed within the haredi community is never reported to police or secular authorities. Mesira, of "informing" on another haredi, of giving him up to the hated secular Zionist government is forbidden in most haredi communities. Crimes are handled (if they are at all) quietly inside the community. Beit dins hear cases. "Penalties" are sometimes imposed.
Sex abuse cases are notorious in this regard because the witness(es) to the abuse is almost always a singular lone witness, often the victim him or herself, and often a minor.
That makes that testimony useless to most beit dins.
As a result, haredi sex offenders are rarely "convicted" in beit din.
Further, Israel itself views haredi communities as semi-autonomous enclaves. Crimes committed inside them by haredim are rarely pursued by police.
This makes Israel an ideal place for haredi man-on-child sex offenders to operate.
Avrohom Mondrowitz could have been extradited years ago.
He was not because he enjoys the protection and support of the Gerrer Rebbe, one of the richest men in Israel, who is also one of the best politically connected men in Israel. He controls the Agudath Israel political party which makes up half of the United Torah Judaism Knesset faction.
Zeve had no such protection. He was extradited without fanfare.
Colmer had no such protection. He was extradited without fanfare.
Mondrowitz has successfully fought extradition for more than 20 years, while at the same time enjoying child porn and engaging in other crimes.
California, the state that sought and received Zeve's extradition, has a tiny haredi community without much political power. Brooklyn has a large haredi community with a lot of political power.
Brooklyn is notoriously corrupt. California is not.
Do the math. When you add it all up, one thing is clear – both Charles Hynes and the Government of Israel have a lot of explaining to do.
* This U.S.-Israel extradition treaty listed many specific crimes, including rape. In 1985 Israeli law defined rape as "having sexual intercourse with a woman without her free consent." Oral and anal raping of boys weren't crimes. In the late 1980s, Israel amended its rape law to include male-on-male rape, making forcible sodomy of any type punishable by a 20 year prison term. In 2006 the US-Israel extradition treaty was amended to define extraditable offenses as any offense punishable by more than one year in prison. That change took effect in January of 2007. The Zeve case proves Mondrowitz could have been extradited anytime after Israel made forcible sodomy a crime. This calls into question the conduct of the Brooklyn DA's office and the Government of Israel both.