Accused haredi cult leader Rabbi Aharon Ramati has been forbidden by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court from managing any school or educational institution or teaching females. The ban is in place for a period of 70 days or until he is indicted.
Above: Rabbi Aharon Ramati
Court Bans Accused Haredi Cult Leader From Teaching Females Or Managing Schools
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Accused haredi cult leader Rabbi Aharon Ramati has been forbidden by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court from managing any school or educational institution or teaching females, Ha’aretz reported. The ban is in place for a period of 70 days or until he is indicted.
Ramati heads the Be’er Miriam women’s seminary in Jerusalem, which was raided on May 3 by a team of police, social workers, city officials and inspectors, other government agencies and gas company workers.
Ramati, his wife, and a few students were arrested. All were later released.
Ramati is accused of running Be’er Miriam like cult, holding some students against their will, prohibiting many from contact with their families, and deciding who each student will marry and then asking detailed questions about the student’s family and sex lives afterward. Ramati also allegedly bars many parents from attending their own children’s weddings.
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Miriam Kaslassy agreed to some of the state’s demands at a hearing earlier this week, including imposing the restrictions on Ramati.
The complaints against Ramati from former students and parents of some current students also prompted the City of Jerusalem municipality to shut down Be’er Miriam, as did the fact that the seminary’s gas was stolen through an illegal and dangerous hookup. (Ramati’s followers claim the landlord was responsible for this, but that is far from clear.)
Ramati’s attorney is an extreme right-wing neo-fascist and neo-Kahanist, Itamar Ben Gvir, who through his Honeneu legal aid organization often defends West Bank Jewish settlers accused of anti-Muslim and and anti-Christian hate crimes. Ben Gvir objected to the prosecution’s request to the court to ban Ramati from teaching females and managing schools. Ben Gvir also claims Ramati never drew a salary from Be’er Miriam. What’s more, Ramati was never the manager or the school, and doesn’t even have rabbinical ordination or a teacher’s license, Ben Gvir reportedly told the court – despite copious evidence to the contrary.
Because of those claims, Ben Gvir insisted the state had no right to ask the court to ban Ramati during the police investigation.
“Education is his guiding principle. He [engaged in it] out of love for the Jewish people, not as a livelihood,” Ben Gvir told Judge Kaslassy, and noted Ramati requested that he be allowed to “educate the Jewish people in accordance with his worldview.”
Kaslassy rejected Ben Gvir’s claims out of hand and banned Ramati from “managing, directly or indirectly, this seminary or any other educational institution, including as a teacher, acting as a supervisory rabbi or spiritual counselor for 70 days or until an indictment is filed, the earlier of the two.”
But she also ruled that Ramati could continue to teach males.
“The respondent is permitted to pursue these passions with the sons of Israel (men but not women), and this only because the plaintiff [the state] has agreed to limit the ban [to teaching females], and not due to any determination regarding the investigation material that has accumulated that distinguishes between men and women,” Judge Kaslassy wrote, meaning that without that stipulation from the prosecution, she would have banned him from teaching both females and males.
Top haredi rabbis issued a ban on Ramati last year and ordered him to leave Jerusalem. Ramati ignored it.