Thirty-one days ago I received a call from a friend in Israel. He grew up in a haredi community, learned in yeshivot, and has smicha. He's less haredi now than he was when I saw him last almost ten years ago, but he still has contact with haredim.
His call wasn't social. He needed to report suspected pedophilia to police, and he couldn't find a hotline number or the number of the sex crimes detectives. And he was afraid of dealing with police anyway, because his haredi upbringing had taught him that Israeli police are not safe to deal with.
He asked me if I had any contacts with the police he could call.
I did have a contact, a senior police official who contacted me a couple months earlier with an offer: if I heard of any crimes taking place in Israel, I could report them to him. He would direct the report to the proper unit.
I got the information on the alleged crime from my friend. It involved a haredi heder in which it appeared a child was being raped after classes every day by a teacher, and the rosh yeshiva had not called police or disciplined the teacher.
I passed the details and my friend's contact information to the official, who called and spoke with my friend. He told my friend and I that sex crimes investigators would contact my friend in 2 to 3 days.
My friend and I both were upset.
Th evidence that the child was being raped daily was strong, and a 2 to 3 day delay would mean 2 to 3 more rapes.
I told the official how worried I was and how upset I was, and I pointed out that in NYC or Minneapolis, or in Western countries like Britain, a delay like this is unheard of – especially when a child might be raped because of it.
The official defended Israel's practice, saying that police can be held legally liable if they act rashly.
We waited. The police did not call. I worried that evidence would be lost or corrupted. I worried that the child would continue to be raped.
But I gave him the 3 days he said cops needed. Then I contacted the official. I told him that investigators had still not contacted my friend who was now very upset, and who was seriously considering refusing to cooperate with police if they ever did contact him.
The official, upset with me and with my friend, assured me that police were working on the case.
Today is 30 days after I first notified that official and my friend has still not be contacted by investigators. No one else he knows who are witnesses have been contacted by police, either.
Presumably, the ten-year-old victim is still being raped.
I was involved in the case of alleged child rapist Avrohom Mondrowitz in ways I still cannot discuss. But I can assure you that Israeli police were given proof of criminal activity by Mondrowitz. Cops – who were not surprised at Mondrowitz's behavior and who seemed to know him well – did nothing. Mondrowitz continued to walk free until Ha'aretz was given the information police had and decided to publish a story on him.
As you know, in the end, Mondrowitz's extradition to the US was blocked by Israel's High Court in a decision many observers consider laughable.
All Mondrowitz did is rape kids. His victims were all Americans, and the complaining victims were all non-Jews. The Jewish victims – all from haredi families – backed away from pressing charges or only came forward after the statute of limitations had passed.
Enter the haredi pedophile gang operating in Nahlaot, Jerusalem.
Ten alleged pedophiles. More than 100 alleged victims, all haredi.
Israeli police botched this investigation, as well, waiting days and days and days to interview the victims, and then being forced to exclude their testimony because it had been corrupted during that long wait by parents and therapists who were trying to help but who did so in ways that destroyed evidence.
Seven of these alleged pedophiles are walking free in Nahlaot because israeli police failed to do their jobs in a professional and timely fashion.
Here is part of an appeal written by a haredi resident of Nahlaot.
She clearly doesn't understand that some of the actions parents and therapists took destroyed evidence, and some of what she wants to do will only make matters worse.
But what she has to say about Israeli police is true, and we should never let the Government of Israel forget it.
Ima 2 Seven writes:
…I don’t know where to focus my anger, sadness and outrage because there is just so much wrong with this story:
1. The police made a statement on the TV news in Israel in Wednesday that “there is an investigation underway and a police presence in the neighborhood and the families are satisfied.” This is a scandal, a lie, a sheer cover up. The ringleader of the ten – many of whom he recruited – is walking free. The police have thrown out the testimony of scores of children as “unusable” because the investigators themselves couldn’t get around to acquiring their statements fast enough. Children who were told that if they were brave and told the truth would see the bad guys taken care of by the trusted authorities now see the police doing little to nothing, and their rapists walking free, sharing their kiosk and daily bus.
2. There are not enough Haredi therapists qualified to treat the dozens (probably more than 100) children in their sector that have been terrorized. Their parents understandably want therapy for their children from a Haredi therapist. So children are going without treatment. On Wednesday’s channel 10 news report an anonymous Haredi parent said he did not ask his children if they are among the victims. His claim on TV is that his RABBI TOLD HIM NOT TO ASK HIS CHILDREN. I don’t even know what to say.
3. There isn’t enough money in the world to put the staff on this case that is necessary. There aren’t enough investigators trained to take statements from children. So the statements aren’t all being taken.
4. There are very consistent accounts from many children that siblings were forced to watch the molestation and rape of their siblings, and that the sex acts were filmed. NO FILM HAS BEEN RETRIEVED AT ALL. While private investigators could be very helpful in this case, it costs money.
5. Parents do not feel safe allowing their children out at all. Yet they must run from therapy to therapy to treat their children, if they are in fact getting treatment. How they can be in so many places at once – and of course not getting the therapy for themselves that they need – is just beyond me.
6. The silent victims are the ones that scare me the most. Who knows how many children can’t, won’t, admit what has been done to them? Each of these children, those who have bravely spoken out and those that have not will grow up with all of the scars of this horrible nightmare:
- The scars of being raped
- The scars of watching the violation of others
- The scars of not being believed or heard
- The scars of being betrayed by the police, their government, their rabbis, their community
- The scars of being betrayed by Klal Yisroel.The city has (finally) admitted that there is a real crisis here and they don’t have the resources, training, manpower or no how to address it properly. This must be fixed. We owe these children, these families, nothing less.…