Leviev, Diamonds and Condoms

Diamonds and Condoms and Orifices, by Why?

The irony of this particular story is not lost on us. We can’t possibly imagine how uncomfortable stuffing small glass-like rocks into one’s orifices must be, so this story is almost funny…. if it weren’t.

And we really do not think that the smuggling of diamonds needed be so very elaborate. In fact, if they were not cut or polished, the idea that they could not be smuggled with relative ease is quite ridiculous.

Consider this: a woman carries a makeup bag with mascara, eyeliner, an assortment of lipsticks a variety of eye shadows; and at the bottom of that bag are some stones, lying around, pieces of sand from a beach or sea-glass. It would be so simple. No customs agent would even contemplate the possibility that such mundanely placed items have any value. And to assume their diamonds? Likely not.  

Every female who has ever traveled likely has unidentified wrappers, residue from makeup, or a hotel shampoo bottle in her makeup pouch or in a lost corner of her handbag. Why is the possibility, that diamonds could be smuggled, identified as a few stones from the beach, perhaps, mingled with seashells meaninglessly lost in a handbag really so hard to conceive? At very worst, a woman carrying such items could so easily claim not to know that they had any value. Whereas, a person with strategically stuffed items in orifices would have a far more difficult time explaining away such items. And, one would think that movement within the airport restricted by those items would be far, far more uncomfortable.

But… we did find some humor in the theory nonetheless. We only hope that whomever suffered the indignity of smuggling diamonds in such an uncomfortable manner got paid very, very handsomely. 

A woman carrying just such a purse would likely raise far less suspicion and suffer far fewer indignities.

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Police believe Leviev workers had diamonds smuggled into Israel in condoms

Investigators in mass fraud probe say Russian-Israeli billionaire’s enterprise hired couriers to hide gems inside bodies, a tactic typically employed by crime organizations

Russian-Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s diamond enterprise, the subject of a mass fraud probe, is suspected of smuggling hundreds of millions of shekels’ worth of gems into Israel inside condoms inserted into couriers’ bodies, in a tactic law enforcement officials have described as a page out of a crime organization’s book.

Leviev’s son and brother have been arrested in connection with the smuggling operation. Leviev himself is reportedly being sought by authorities for questioning over the case — which was first made public last week — but he is refusing to return to Israel from Russia.

Zevulun and Moshe Leviev were among six suspects held on suspicion of smuggling. The pair had run a diamond facility owned by Lev Leviev and the remaining four suspects held senior positions in his company. The remand of all six suspects has been repeated extended by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court.

Details of the investigation at the Lahav 433 anti-corruption police unit and of the testimony of a state witness in the case were published Thursday by the Ynet news site, exposing the way the gems made their way from Russia into Israel.

Leviev’s enterprise would hire couriers who packed the diamonds into condoms and then inserted them into their bodies. Donning suits, they posed as businessmen and managed to pass Israel border control without raising suspicion.

The diamonds — worth some NIS 300 million ($81.4 million) — were then sold illegally in Israel, without paying taxes. They were also smuggled into other countries, according to the investigation.

“That tactic is very common for drug dealers, who use couriers to smuggle large quantities of drugs inside the couriers’ bodies,” a source with knowledge of the investigation was quoted by Ynet as saying.

“The mere thought of smuggling in this way is a testament to the criminal intentions of those officials. They were afraid that the diamonds would be discovered had they been smuggled in suitcases, and therefore worked with couriers who were willing to take the risk.”

The Russian diamond factory is suspected of operating in two separate production lines: a legal one, which included all the necessary reports to authorities and tax payments, and the illegal one. Police believe that design sought to eliminate suspicion by ostensibly being a law-abiding business, similar to crime organizations that typically also retain legal businesses.

Police and Tax Authority officials believe Leviev played a role in the sting, according to the Walla news website, which did not specify what he is suspected of. Police and prosecutors haven’t yet decided whether to ask Russian authorities to extradite Leviev or request permission to conduct the investigation on Russian soil.

More arrests in Israel and abroad are expected, according to authorities.

The case was cracked with the aid of one of the suspects who turned state witness after he was stopped six months ago at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport carrying a diamond worth a million shekels ($270,000), the Globes website reported.

In a statement, Leviev’s company LLD Diamonds previously said it had no information about the arrests.

“The company knows nothing of the events reported in the media,” the statement said. “Mr. Leviev and the companies he owns operate according to the appropriate norms, and in compliance with the law. We hope that the matter will quickly be clarified and that the suspicions will turn out to be baseless.”

Born in the then-Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, Leviev moved to Israel at age 15 but  lived in London for much of the past decade before moving to Russia. He is a major supporter of many Jewish causes, including Chabad-Lubavitch, a Hasidic sect that focuses on outreach to Jews around the world.

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Shady Landlords, the Sex Trade, Brothels and the Ultra-Orthodox Community Not Mentioned… though not Absent…KJ

Kiryas Joel and 2016 – to Today’s News – Nothing New

In 2016 we ran a piece on sex trafficking in Kiryas Joel, New York only to be called raving lunatics by others on the internet. We had heard first hand accounts of “sex slavery” from housekeepers being brought in to “service” the homes and guests of the homes. Many wanted to avoid any discussion of the topic publicly or even remotely publicly for fear of reprisals from their sponsors. In today’s climate, illegal immigration and cracking down has only made that problem worse. Many will not speak for fear of deportation. Imagine trading one’s body and her/his dignity for refuge. It is unthinkable.

At the time we had read accounts of what amounted to sex trafficking couched in the cover of Au Pairs from abroad. These were girls brought in to care for children, and to service men. We had been told numerous stories and even had a theory regarding one of the Leviev properties in NYC mentioned in 2016.

It is unfortunate that at the time we could not get the victims of these crimes to come forward nor could we substantiate what we believed has been happening for quite some time.

While the NY Times article mentions the difficulties in holding people accountable (particularly the Landlords) and in putting a stop to the brothels, we believe that in many cases the Landlords are not blind to what is happening within their premises. We do not think that the property managers are unaware and we have our suspicions that the network that allows these activities to continue is far better organized than the NY Times article below would have us believe. Smuggling in humans for sex trafficking, or even luring innocent victims, is much like smuggling diamonds. It probably is equally as, if not more, lucrative.

If law enforcement relied on the information obtained by the network of bloggers, it could expand its crime-fighting toolbox.    

THE NEW YORK TIMES

The New Brothels: How Shady Landlords Play a Key Role in the Sex Trade

An apartment building in Park Slope, Brooklyn in a residential area where many families live. A prostitution ring had taken over two apartments to use as brothels. The landlord was complicit, the police said.CreditDave Sanders for The New York Times

Most tenants of a drab, four-story building in Park Slope, Brooklyn, knew about the brothel in their building. Strange men buzzed their apartments at all hours, looking nervous as they headed toward the same two apartments where many residents believed sex was being sold.

Calling the landlord was useless, several tenants said.

“I thought it was strange that he didn’t seem worried about it,” one woman who lived in the building for seven years said. “It was so out in the open.”

In September, the police broke up a large prostitution ring that had been protected by seven police officers. Prosecutors said the landlord of that Park Slope building, Isaac A. Schwartz, was in on it. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of enterprise corruption and conspiracy.

Known by his nickname, “Shragie,” Mr. Schwartz not only owned four of the buildings where the ring’s prostitutes worked, but he’s also been twice included on an official list of the city’s worst landlords.

A retired detective, Ludwig Paz, was charged with being the leader of the ring, which operated brothels in several buildings in Queens and central Brooklyn, but the authorities said Mr. Schwartz also played a key role: finding locations for Mr. Paz.

In New York, gentrification has pushed prostitution indoors. Street walkers have all but disappeared. Prostitutes now advertise online, sex dates are arranged over the phone and brothels operate inside apartments in residential neighborhoods.

As a result, landlords play an important role in the sex trade. By enlisting Mr. Schwartz, Mr. Paz avoided having a landlord report his activities to the police, law enforcement officials said.

Efforts to rid the city of illegal sex have previously implicated prominent landlords, but the police have had a difficult time proving the extent of an owner’s knowledge and involvement.

David M. Hoovler, a former federal prosecutor who is the district attorney in Orange County, N.Y., said the rise of human trafficking in the United States has resulted in an increasing number of landlords willing to participate in illegal activities.

But it’s difficult to prove anything against them in court.

“You have to have evidence that links them to the actual criminal enterprise,” Mr. Hoovler said. “They actually have to have the intent to participate in it. They have to derive a profit from it.”

[A former vice detective is at the center of one of the New York Police Department’s worst scandals in recent years]

Inspector James P. Klein, the commanding officer of the vice enforcement division, where Mr. Paz worked until 2010 and where he was working when he started his secret enterprise, said the police rely heavily on undercover operations and the city’s nuisance-abatement law to shut down brothels.

But landlords are rarely charged with a crime, he said, because the police often don’t have enough evidence to show they are complicit, which results in a never-ending game of Whack-A-Mole: The police shut down brothels and massage parlors, only to see another open in the same place or nearby.

Mr. Schwartz declined to comment on what role, if any, he had in Mr. Paz’s business. Mr. Schwartz’s lawyer, Gedalia Stern, also declined to comment, as did several of Mr. Schwartz’s relatives and colleagues.

The police said it remained unclear how Mr. Schwartz, who is 44 and lives with his wife in Midwood, Brooklyn, partnered with Mr. Paz.

 

But one law-enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss an open case, said that Mr. Schwartz spent several years “actively assisting” Mr. Paz and knew “exactly what kind of business was being conducted” in his buildings.

The former tenant in the Park Slope building, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she feared retaliation by her previous landlord or his associates, said Mr. Schwartz’s response when she asked him why he tolerated having the sex trade in his building was, “They pay me good money.”

In one of his appearances in housing court, Mr. Schwartz said that his business was built on buying buildings in distress — or what he called “dumpsters” — and turning them “into something.” His strategy depended on receiving city money to house the homeless.

“So mainly all of my real estate is put together from shelters,” he testified in 2016.

On numerous occasions, the city paid Mr. Schwartz to house the homeless in some of his buildings, court records show, including one at 880 Gates Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where the authorities said a brothel operated.

But the brothel buildings comprised only a fraction of Mr. Schwartz’s larger portfolio. Through a network of shell companies, he owns at least 48 properties worth more than a combined $87 million, city records show. The companies all can be tied back to an entity called Pacific Management, which Mr. Schwartz still runs, with a partner, Mendy Lowy, from a cramped and cluttered office on Coney Island Avenue above a Pakistani bakery. (Ms. Lowy did not respond to several phone calls seeking comment.)

Mr. Schwartz has twice ended up on the Public Advocate for the City of New York’s list of the worst landlords. Eight of Mr. Schwartz’s buildings were on the city’s watch list last year, racking up more than 500 violations for problems such as water leaks, bulging walls and inadequate light and ventilation, officials said. Court records show that Mr. Schwartz and his companies have been sent to housing court more than 150 times recently.

One of those proceedings involved Sven Britt, a musician who four years ago moved into an apartment in a high-rise at 2007 Foster Avenue that Mr. Schwartz purchased a decade ago, property records show.

 

Within a few months, a gas leak in the unit prompted National Grid to shut off the gas, Mr. Britt said. Then came a bedbug infestation. After that, Mr. Britt said, came a series of ceiling collapses so severe that he could see “daylight through the roof.”

But Mr. Britt noticed what appeared to be an even bigger problem: a brothel in the building.

Law enforcement officials said it can be difficult and expensive to investigate landlords like Mr. Schwartz who are suspected of profiting from prostitution, in part, because it is largely a cash business.

Mr. Hoovler, the Orange County district attorney, said his office spent months investigating a hotel chain in New Windsor, N.Y., after its managers agreed to give discounted room rates to an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute. Investigators pored over hotel and banking records and conducted wiretaps to confirm the hotel managers knew about the prostitution.

“We were able to show not only links to money, but we were also able to show the links between the people,” said Mr. Hoovler. Eventually, two company officers pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of permitting prostitution, and the corporation pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and paid a $1,000 fine.

 

The authorities in New York City followed a different strategy in the 1970s during a campaign to push pornography and prostitution out of Midtown Manhattan. Rather than seeking indictments, the city went after landlords through their mortgages, taking advantage of standard clauses that allowed banks to foreclose on properties where illicit activity was taking place, said Sidney Baumgarten, a lawyer appointed by Mayor Abraham Beame during that era to lead the Midtown Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee.

The city identified more than 450 illicit establishments between 59th Street and The Battery at Manhattan’s tip, Mr. Baumgarten said. The businesses were popular with landlords because they commanded higher rents and rampant official corruption during that time made them difficult to snuff out.

“You had a lot of people who were interested in keeping things going on this way,” Mr. Baumgarten said. “I tend to think that a lot of it is still going on.”

Little in Mr. Schwartz’s history indicated he would eventually be accused of being involved in prostitution. At Mr. Britt’s housing court trial, Mr. Schwartz described himself as the hard-working son of a bakery owner from upstate New York.

He also said he had helped run a contracting firm, Powerful Electric, with his brother-in-law before he started in real estate. Powerful Electric, based in Brooklyn, is still owned by the brother-in-law, Shalom Seelfreund. He declined to be interviewed.

Mr. Schwartz had another side job too — as a good Samaritan. He joined the East Midwood Volunteer Ambulance Corps in 2006, and served three years as an emergency medical technician. The president of the corps, Yakov Hornitzer, said Mr. Schwartz stood out as a dedicated worker who took many shifts and attended classes to enhance his knowledge of medicine. Three years later, Mr. Schwartz took the test to become a full-fledged paramedic and joined the Hatzolah ambulance service in Carnarsie.

A few years after that, he was tied to a bizarre kidnapping ring in New Jersey. He and his real estate partner, Ms. Lowy, signed two $1 million bonds securing the release of a pair of Orthodox Jewish men — one of them a rabbi — whom federal prosecutors charged with abduction and assault.

For hefty fees, the government said, the defendants would snatch reluctant husbands from the streets, would tie them up and beat them and sometimes shock them with Tasers until they agreed to divorce their wives.

Lawyers for the men, who are now in prison, said they did not know how Mr. Schwartz and Ms. Lowy knew their clients.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

Brooklyn Landlord Allegedly Also Brothel Owner…. And then There’s Lakewood

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THE REAL DEAL

Brooklyn landlord with $87M portfolio charged with running prostitution ring out of his buildings

Isaac Schwartz, who owns 48 properties through shell corporations, was arrested last month for enterprise corruption and conspiracy.

UPDATED, Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 11:16 p.m.: One Ditmas Park resident thought he had it bad enough after enduring bed bugs, bulging walls and a hole in the ceiling. But then he learned his building was being used to service an illegal brothel.

Another Park Slope resident also learned there were apartments being used for prostitution in her building.

Both residents had the same landlord, Isaac Schwartz, a regular on the New York City public advocate’s “worst landlord” list who was arrested last month after police discovered a prostitution ring operating in his buildings, according to The New York Times.

Schwartz’s arrest highlighted the role complicit landlords play in enabling illegal prostitution rings to operate in residential buildings. Police alleged that four of Schwartz’s Brooklyn properties,

2007 Foster Avenue483 4th Avenue880 Gates Avenue and 203 Onderdonk Avenue, had housed brothels, as part of a prostitution ring run by a former police detective. The landlord pleaded not guilty and was released without bail on his own recognizance. According to the Times, Schwartz’s portfolio numbers 48 buildings valued at about $87 million.

Citing housing court documents, The Times reported that Schwartz, who works as an EMT in Borough Park, runs his rental company with Mendy Lowy and a contracting firm, Powerful Electric, with his brother-in-law Shalon Seelfreund. Schwartz and Lowy were also connected to a strange kidnapping ring in Lakewood, New Jersey. Schwartz and Lowy paid $2 million in bond to secure the release of a rabbi and another man charged with abduction and assault related to divorces in the Orthodox community, the Times reported.  [NYT] — David Jeans

Correction: An earlier version noted Schwartz was the developer behind a project in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; it’s a different developer with the same name. 

Trading Favors with De Blasio Donors, Some Thoughts Revisited

To Our Readers:
We are reprinting the following with the express permission of the editors of the “The Chief”. By granting us permission to reprint their article, they are not to be deemed to be endorsing our site or its content. Nor are they to be assumed to be in any way supporting of our analyses or conclusions.  
As to the content of the article, we note that in March of 2018, the question of Jona Rechnitz’s credibility to testify as a witness against others was raised in the below article. We wholeheartedly agree with the comments below. Our words might be far less subtle than the words used by the article’s author.
We find ourselves wondering why at the current time, only Grant is being held to the proverbial legal fire and other officers have been given what appears to be a pass for behavior we think may be no less allegedly egregious. We have commented that we think Grant was in over his head with the crew in which he was embroiled.  
As to our reprint of the below article, we note that we were unable to obtain the complete formatting of the page and invite our readers to look to the original links.
We are very grateful to the editors of the Chief for their permission and are very grateful for the ability to share information. 
LM
A Scandal Renewed
March 12, 2018

Retired NYPD Chief Pleads Guilty To Favor-Trading With Mayor’s Donors

The scandal over the alleged corruption of high-ranking NYPD officials by donors to Mayor de Blasio had receded from public view, but it popped back into the news with retired Deputy Chief Michael Harrington’s guilty plea.

 

When he was arrested in June 2016, Mr. Harrington was charged in Federal court with conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud, which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison. On March 1, he pleaded guilty to misappropriation of property belonging to an organization receiving Federal funds: the NYPD. That offense carries a maximum term of 10 years.

 

Probation or 10 Years?

His attorneys and the prosecutors agreed on a term of zero to six months. But that agreement is not binding on U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods, who can set any term up to the 10-year maximum. Sentencing is set for June 11.

 

Mr. Harrington, 53, of Staten Island, was one of a handful of top-ranking NYPD officers charged with accepting cash and other gifts, including the services of a prostitute, from the two donors, Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz.

 

In exchange, the two donors called on the officers to provide police-related assistance for themselves and their associates as needed, said prosecutors with the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District. That assistance included assigning police officers, helicopters and boats to escort people and investigate private disputes, the prosecutors said.

 

Mr. Rechnitz has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against other defendants.

The corruption allegations reached as high as Mayor de Blasio, who denied any wrongdoing and said he barely knew the two donors despite Mr. Rechnitz’s testimony that he had done favors for the pair in exchange for donations.

 

Firearms Permits

 

The allegations also included members of the NYPD License Division, who were charged with taking bribes for expediting firearms permits.

 

Mr. Reichberg and Mr. Rechnitz “got a private police force for themselves and their friends,” the U.S. Attorney at the time, Preet Bharara, said at a news conference after their arrest in June 2016. “Effectively, they got ‘cops on call.’”

 

Mr. Harrington had originally been scheduled for trial at the end of April with retired Deputy Inspector James Grant and Mr. Reichberg.

 

In his plea, Mr. Harrington told Judge Woods that he provided the police services because he “understood Mr. Reichberg to be a leader within the Jewish community, and also considered him a friend.”

He admitted arranging an NYPD escort for a prominent man’s funeral, having residents of a summer camp for seriously-ill children to visit an NYPD training facility, ordering counterterrorism officers to monitor a Manhattan synagogue and setting up a police helicopter to fly above a party Mr. Reichberg was hosting on a boat.

 

Wrong but Not Illegal?

 

Judge Woods asked him whether he knew he was breaking the law. “Your honor, I certainly knew at the time that what I was doing was wrong,” Mr. Harrington replied, “but I didn’t appreciate until much later that what I did was illegal.”

Mr. Harrington’s attorney, Andrew Weinstein, asked Judge Woods to sentence his client to probation. “The single new charge to which Mr. Harrington pled guilty today involving the misapplication of NYPD property is obviously a horse of a different color compared to the bribery-based offenses with which he was originally charged,” he said in a statement after the proceeding.

 

Mr. Harrington retired from the NYPD in May 2016. He had worked with Mr. Reichberg as an Inspector in Brooklyn North and then as executive officer in the office of Chief of Department Philip Banks III, who according to news reports received cash and trips funded by Mr. Reichberg and Mr. Rechnitz. Mr. Banks was not charged and reported the income from the two on city disclosure forms.

 

When Mr. Harrington retired, he had recently been named No. 2 in the Housing Bureau. After that assignment, he had been placed on modified duty by then-Commissioner William J. Bratton because of the Federal investigation. Police officers can safeguard their pensions by retiring before they are convicted of criminal charges.

 

Mr. Grant, a Deputy Inspector who commanded the prestigious 19th Precinct, has been charged with accepting cash from and doing official favors for Mr. Reichberg. He also retired in May 2016 after being placed on modified duty.

 

The Credibility Question

 

It’s questionable how effective Mr. Rechnitz will be as a witness against Mr. Grant and Mr. Reichberg. He was the key prosecution witness in last year’s trial of Norman Seabrook, the longtime president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, on charges of accepting a $60,000 bribe in return for investing $20 million of union money in a hedge fund run by co-defendant Murray Huberfeld.

 

However, in cross-examination, defense lawyers emphasized Mr. Rechnitz’s own checkered history: his heavy-handedness, self-importance, financial shenanigans and history of lying. Jurors found him difficult to believe, and the proceeding ended in a mistrial.

 

Federal prosecutors promised to retry Mr. Seabrook and Mr. Huberfeld, but they have not discussed publicly what they will do about their witness’s credibility problems.

 

More R&R, Victimizing the Prostitute, She Deserved Better then and She

 

Image result for pics of jona rechnitz and jeremy reichberg

NYPD corruption trial: Ex-prostitute testimony details Las Vegas weekend

https://www.amny.com/news/nypd-corruption-trial-1.23122444

The Manhattan federal court NYPD corruption trial took a trip on the seamy side Thursday as an ex-prostitute took the stand to describe how she was hired to dress up in a skimpy stewardess  outfit on a private jet to Las Vegas and then have sex with former deputy inspector James Grant.

Gabriella Curtis, 29, known as Gabi Grecko at the time of the trip in 2013, said that after the three-day Las Vegas Super Bowl weekend arranged by Grant’s co-defendant Jeremy Reichberg with five men altogether, she was unhappy Grant only gave her $1,200 to $1,500.

“The fact I was with multiple people . . . I thought it would be more,” she said, but Grant told her, “If our team had done better then we would have been able to give you more.”

Reichberg, 44, and former partner Jona Rechnitz, are charged with giving out favors ranging from meals and gifts to home repairs to the prostitute for Grant, 45, and other cops, in return for escorts, access to public events, assistance with gun permits and other perks.

Curtis said she was at loose ends in 2013, trying to make money to escape a bad relationship when she got into hooking through a website called Sugar Daddies and a Miami-based escort service.

She met Reichberg, a businessman from Borough Park, Brooklyn, at a bachelor party in a Midtown hotel attended by 15 men where she performed sex acts. He got her phone number, she testified, and later called her to arrange for the Las Vegas trip.

In addition to Reichberg and Grant, she identified another man on the trip as “Jona” — a reference to Jona Rechnitz, Reichberg’s partner and the government’s star witness in the case, who has previously testified about his efforts to corrupt cops, union officials and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

She said the group’s suite at the MGM Grand had two rooms, and she stayed in one with Grant, but said her escort services were “for everyone who asked.”

Curtis is reportedly now engaged to an Australian businessman. Defense lawyers are expected to portray her as a not-credible fame seeker more interested in exposure than truth.

But in her direct testimony, Curtis said that after the NYPD corruption case broke, she did an interview with the New York Post in an effort to empower women, not out of self-interest.

“I hoped I could help other females. While females are slut-shamed, men get high-fives,” she said. “I didn’t do it to hurt anyone….I didn’t do it for fame.”

She said the whole experience was a disaster. The story, a tabloid sensation in the city, was the “exact opposite of what I wanted and most of it wasn’t true,” she testified, and the reporter started dating her for a month before it ended badly.

“I felt really isolated,” said Curtis. “ . . . This was a person who seemed as if he cared about me.”

If she does any more interviews, she said, she wanted them to be “feminist” interviews.

“I feel like I’m not even a person any more,” she said. “I feel like I’m just a hooker.”

During cross-examination Thursday afternoon, defense lawyers said they want to put in evidence that Curtis has posed in revealing outfits for news outlets since her brush with celebrity to contradict her story of exploitation. But U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods has said he may not allow it.

Please click here to reach the source material.

 

 

Opinion: NYC Investigation of Yeshivas a Farce – New York’s Children the Losers

education_sign_resizedNYC’s so-called investigation of yeshivas is a farce

 

For a brief moment last summer, new Chancellor Richard Carranza seemed set to break the logjams and turn the city’s three-year farce of an investigation into Jewish religious schools into something serious.

Guess again: Carranza has just disclosed that none of the Orthodox yeshiva high schools — always the real crux of the alleged problem — will allow city investigators in.

For years, activists have charged that some Orthodox schools fail to provide the basic secular education that state law requires. Even those elementary schools that offer a bare minimum of instruction reportedly end it after age 13.

In 2015, the de Blasio administration announced an active investigation. But years passed with no sign that any such probe was actually under way.

Now NY1 reports that Carranza has notified State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia that 21 of the 30 targeted schools have been inspected (surprise: all “passed”), and three others have scheduled visits.

As activists note, the fact that the visits are scheduled instead of unannounced strongly suggests any investigating is being driven by the schools, not the city.

More important, six high schools won’t even let officials in the door, so Carranza is asking Elia for help. Elia, in turn, says long-promised new guidelines for such inspections are coming … real soon now.

Again, more than three years have passed — during which the politically potent Orthodox community, while fighting the non-probe tooth and nail, got the Legislature to water down the education requirements.

City Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters is looking into whether political interference explains the city’s foot-dragging.

This is not religious persecution; it’s about ensuring that kids learn the basic knowledge and skills to function outside their community. Plainly, Team de Blasio doesn’t see that as any kind of priority.

A Little Gem of A Story – Paying Attention to the Crystal Clear Details – 580 Fifth Ave.

580 5th.2

Leviev, 580 Fifth Avenue, The Crystal Clear Details and Africa Israel

We have made no bones about our theories regarding the number of diamonds there are floating around New York, either unpolished and uncut or simply unaccounted for on any formal records or invoices. We have believed this since our stories were published in 2016. We believe that the key to understanding this theory rests in the role Lev Leviev’s enterprise had and may continue to have in New York. The properties bought and sold through Africa Israel, its appraisers, its real estate developers, its agents, its management companies should not be ignored.

Jona Rechnitz worked for Leviev through Africa Israel, was deeply connected to him on the real estate side of Africa-Israel’s ventures and had access to Leviev’s connections, at last for some time post his employment. We do not believe that Rechnitz is a credible informant because he has too much to save with regard to his own skin.  

We believe that the pay to play scheme heavily reported and the use of aircrafts and prostitutes involved some of the same players, people Leviev would have known or had reason to know quite well. We believe that the investigators are missing simple dots for the “i’s” and crosses for the “t’s”.

We believe that it might behoove investigators in the US, attorneys representing alleged criminals in current trials and even those looking at not-so-kosher deals should be very curious regarding the current gag order in Israel. Such an order does not come easy there.

Finally, or perhaps not so finally, it should be noted that last week’s convention of Kinus Hashluchim is as much a fundraising event as it is a schmoozing and mixer for the wealthy and businessmen within the Chabad organization and even wealthy non-Chabad who have something to offer. The cellular phone activity at those events should not really be ignored by anyone paying attention. The photographs tell a 1000 words.  

THE DAILY NEWS, MARCH 12, 2018

Jeweler who donated to de Blasio got quick meeting about subsidizing diamond industry

A jeweler who has been a longtime donor to Mayor de Blasio hit up Hizzoner with the idea of subsidizing the diamond industry — and in minutes got a sitdown to discuss the proposal, records show.

 

Reuven Kaufman, the head of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York, sent an email to de Blasio at 9:21 p.m. on March 18, 2015, to talk about ways the city could help diamond manufacturing and support trade associations.

 

The mayor replied within eight minutes from his Blackberry email account, according to correspondences the Daily News obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.

 

De Blasio thanked Kaufman for reaching out and cc’ed his aide Avi Fink, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and her then-chief of staff, James Patchett, instructing them to follow up with him.

“Alicia/James, please note that I have a long and positive relationship with Reuven, and know that he can provide us with real insight re: his industry,” he wrote.

Indeed, Kaufman has been a gem for de Blasio’s campaigns — ever since he first donated $1,000 in 2007 to de Blasio’s run for public advocate.

 

He and his family have donated a total of $41,075 to de Blasio’s war chest over the past decade, records show. Most recently, Kaufman, his wife and their two sons each gave the maximum contribution of $4,950 in January — after de Blasio already won re-election as mayor.

 

Between 2007 and 2012, the Kaufmans donated $21,275 to de Blasio campaigns.

“There was nothing sinister about this proposal,” Kaufman said last week when asked about the email exchange in 2015. “I was trying to help improve productivity and bring jobs to the city.”

 

In his initial email to de Blasio, Kaufman said he had read how the mayor wanted to bring back manufacturing to the city.

 

He explained how “unlike other diamond centers around the globe, the New York diamond industry receives no governmental support for its initiatives.”

Kaufman said that the city’s Diamond District has a highly skilled and coveted group of aging experts — but subsidies could help the next generation of manufacturers.

He ended his email by offering to accompany de Blasio on his upcoming trip to Israel.

 

“If you are planning to take along any business leaders, I would be proud and honored to accompany you,” Kaufman wrote.

 

Two hours after de Blasio’s reply, City Hall officials had set up a meeting with Kaufman for March 25. The rapid response even had Kaufman marveling.

Kaufman wanted to discuss ways the city could help diamond manufacturing.
Kaufman wanted to discuss ways the city could help diamond manufacturing. (© / Reuters/REUTERS)

“U work late. I’m impressed,” Kaufman wrote at 11:03 p.m. to Sonam Velani, a senior adviser to Glen who arranged the sitdown.

 

“Contrary to popular belief, government can be efficient!” Velani replied.

Last week, a mayoral spokeswoman maintained Kaufman did not receive any special treatment.

 

“Whether it’s someone who has the Mayor’s email address, or someone he meets on the subway or who calls into his radio appearances, it’s the Mayor’s job to refer people having an issue with city government to the appropriate people in city government,” said spokeswoman Melissa Grace. “And political supporters shouldn’t be barred from accessing their government.”

 

As for the meeting, Kaufman brought along one of his sons and two other Diamond Dealers Club honchos to the March 25 gathering with Velani and another unnamed EDC official.

 

EDC said that it only had one meeting with Kaufman and it didn’t lead to any subsidies.

Kaufman acknowledged his longstanding support of de Blasio but said the mayor has never done anything to help him.

 

“You can check all your records,” he said. “He has done nothing for me. I have not asked him for anything.”

 

Kaufman gave his first $1,000 donation to de Blasio through an intermediary, Yitzchok Fleischer, a powerful rabbi in Borough Park’s Bobov Hasidic community who was an early supporter of the future mayor.

 

After de Blasio won the mayoral race in 2013, Fleischer told Tablet Magazine he expected easy access to City Hall for helping him get elected.

“He owes me everything,” Fleischer said. “Without me he wouldn’t be anyplace.”

The News previously reported that Kaufman’s business is in a suite at 580 Fifth Ave. in the World Diamond Tower. The Diamond District building was a popular place for de Blasio to find donors.

 

To read the remainder of the article click here.

 

 

A LLD Diamond of a Criminal Organization, a Gag Order and Extended Arrests

Arrests of Three in Smuggling Case Linked to Israeli ‘King of Diamonds’ Extended

 

Police call his LLD company a ‘criminal organization’ ■ The three are Leviev’s son, Zvulun; LLD’s CEO Reuven Shmuelov; and a third person whose name is subject to a court gag order.

The arrests of three people whom police allege were part of a diamond smuggling operation run by a company controlled by Lev Leviev was extended for three days on Sunday. by the Rishon Letzion Magistrates Court.

The three are Leviev’s son, Zvulun; LLD’s CEO Reuven Shmuelov; and a third person whose name is subject to a court gag order.

In asking for their arrest to be extended by six days, a request that Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Judge Guy Avnon cut by half, police representative Gal Chesner described LDD as “operated like a criminal organization that uses diamond dealers like drug dealers. This is a company that tampers with and destroys evidence.”

The three are part of a group of nine that were arrested a week ago as part of a long-running police investigation of alleged smuggling by LLD, a privately controlled company founded by Leviev, one of Israel’s best-known businessmen. The other six have been released with restrictions.

 

 

 

 

Miriam, The Orthodox Community in England, Corrupt Practices [AUDIO]

Myriam

https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/m000113m

 

CLARIFICATION AND COMMENTS:

We have no doubt that the same financial fraud and evasive practices described in this presentation are happening in the United States and in other parts of the world. Miriam describes, with precision and accuracy, a process whereby she earned extraordinary money while collecting public welfare benefits. The same is undoubtedly happening within the Haredi community in the United States.

The Satmar, for example, boasts tremendous assets under management as far as the community at large is concerned and yet, Kiryas Joel in New York, is listed as one of the, if not the poorest city in the United States. That is simply not logically consistent. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiryas_Joel%2C_New_York

With respect to the ritualistic behavior, the radical ultra-Orthodoxy that is described in this audio is not mainstream Judaism. The personal marriage related practices described are followed by only the most religious within the greater Jewish community, and a rabbi or rebbe’s involvement is not the same within all sects, something which we felt needed to be emphasized.

We believe that the community from which Miriam escaped is more like a cult than Judaism.

Please listen and share. 

The Allure Of Luxury Housing at the Expense of the Elderly – 2266 Cropsey Ave.

Allure Group planning luxury rentals on Brooklyn nursing home site

The firm behind the Rivington House sale is building a 243-unit project

UPDATED, Nov. 7, 5:03 p.m.: Allure Group, the real estate developer at the center of the Rivington House nursing home scandal, is filing permits to build a luxury rental project on a site that also houses a Brooklyn senior facility.

The firm and its partner Landpex Development are looking to build a 30-story rental property at 2266 Cropsey Avenue in Bath Beach, according to documents filed with the Department of Buildings on Wednesday.

Allure and Landpex filed the permits under alternate addresses 2230 Cropsey Avenue and 1625 Shore Parkway. City records show a rectangular site, which runs the length of Cropsey Avenue between Bay 23rd Street and 23rd Avenue and is home to the King David Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, a facility that provides long-term care for seniors. Allure told The Real Deal that the filing is not for the site of the senior facility. It is for the adjacent parking lot it also owns and a row of houses beyond. The company also said that the senior home will remain open, and that it plans to invest $10 million in the property.

The new plans call for a 243-unit residential complex that spans 222,300 square feet. The proposed structure will be divided between 196,000 square feet of residential space and 26,300 square feet for a community facility. If approved as proposed, the building would be 326 feet tall. Amenities would include a fitness room and recreation area for tenants, a pool, a men’s spa and an outdoor lounge on the 23rd floor. There will also be a community day care facility on the ground floor.

Allure acquired the property for $30.1 million in 2015, property records show. It was previously owned by the Sephardic Home for the Aged. The firm took out a $55.4 million mortgage on the property last June.

Allure, headed by Joel Landau, was a central figure in the Rivington House scandal. It paid a $2 million legal settlement following an investigation by then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into the sale of the deed-restricted Lower East Side nursing home. It sold the building for $116 million in 2015 to Slate Property Group, which had planned a luxury housing development at the site.

Landpex’s Joseph Flakowitz hung up the phone when asked about the project.

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH:

 

 

Rehab Consortium Nabs Bensonhurst Nursing Home for $30M

2266 Cropsey Avenue
2266 CROPSEY AVENUE.

Allure Group, a for-profit consortium of rehabilitation centers, has purchased what was called the Sephardic Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bensonhurst. The property sold for $30.1 million on Dec 31, according to public records filed with the city on Tuesday.

SEE ALSO: The Voices of TerraCRG

The site at 2266 Cropsey Avenue between Bay 32nd Street and 23rd Avenue, sold by Sephardic Home for the Aged, is comprised of 83,388 square feet, according to PropertyShark.

Under Allure’s ownership, the facility is now known as the King David Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. The company runs four other facilities across Brooklyn, one in Queens and one in Manhattan, according to its website.

“We are excited to extend our group’s reach to a new neighborhood in Brooklyn,” said Melissa Guglielmo, Allure’s chief operating officer, in a press release. “We’re proud to show a new community what we are all about.”

While less hyped, southwest Brooklyn has dramatically increased its volume of real estate activity recently, as Commercial Observer previously reported.

Based on Sephardic Home for the Aged’s website, the facility was a non-profit organization whose mission was to care for the Jewish elderly. The site was also used as a space for community meetings, such as jobs information nights listed on the Bensonhurst Bean. The status of the non-profit is unclear, though it shares the same address and phone number as King David Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Both Sephardic Home and Allure Group declined to comment.

 

Measles – Are Rational Minds Going to Prevail on Vaccinations Urges from Baadatz – From YWN

MEASLES OUTBREAK SPREADS: 8 Bochurim in Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim Hospitalized; Baadatz Urges Vaccinations

YESHIVA WORLD NEWS

Health Ministry officials in Israel and around the world are concerned with the increasing spread of the measles, the likes of which we have not seen in many years.

More than 1300 people have been sickened in Israel, and an unvaccinated 18-month-old child was R”L killed.

Thee outbreak has spread to the Frum communities in the New York / New Jersey area, including Monsey, New Square, Williamsburg and Lakewood, where the so-called anti-vaxxers are under fire for endangering the other members of the community, those who comply with guidelines and have had themselves and children vaccinated.

On Tuesday, 28 Marcheshvan, eight bochurim from the Mir Yeshiva were hospitalized, diagnosed with the measles. This includes local bochurim and some from overseas. Medical personnel arrived at the yeshiva on Tuesday morning and the dining hall was converted to a medical clinic as bochrim were vaccinated. (as can be seen in the photos attached above and below) Vaccinations were given to local and bochrim from abroad learning in Mir.

Rabbi Dr. Menachem Chaim Breyer, Deputy Medical Director of Bnei Brak’s Mayanei HaYeshua Hospital and a representative of the Rabbis for Medical Ethics on Tuesday morning spoke with Kol Chai radio host Betzalel Kahn, seeking to highlight just how worrisome the situation is.

Rabbi Dr. Menachem Chaim Breyer, Deputy Medical Director of Bnei Brak’s Mayanei HaYeshua Hospital

Rabbi Dr. Breyer explained “The fear is not just in Israel, but around world, and while there were 34 documented cases of measles in Israel in 2017, today, there are already 1350 cases in Israel, and that number of climbing. In addition, in one-third of the cases there are medical complications, and the mortality rate in these cases is 1:1000”.

Many are getting vaccinated now, after the outbreak, and Israel’s Health Ministry has launched a major campaign, an effort to educate the tzibur and a call to all whose children are unvaccinated, to come and get vaccinated immediately. Similar cries have been heard in Monsey already, as well as other places.

Rabbi Dr. Breyer explains that while with many viruses if one is exposed, it is not that likely to spread to others. However, he explains the case regarding the measles is not so, since it is very aggressive and if 100 people are exposed to the virus, 90 will become ill as a result so the spread is rapid and worrisome. He mentioned the experts in the Health Ministry are also considering to begin vaccinating the little ones at the age of 9 months instead of today’s norm of one year.

Kol Chai:
Do we know what caused the spread this year, above previous years?

Dr. Breyer:
We don’t know but someone who visited Israel from abroad brought it here. What is certain is the persons who do not vaccinate their children are a major contributory factor and these children infect everyone around them, and anyone they come into contact with.

I have been visiting with Gedolei Yisrael and HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita instructed me to delve into deeper and to bring him information to determine the magnitude of the illness, and recommendations as to what needs to be done.

In a letter released by the Ravaad Eida Chareidis, Rav Sternbuch states specifically it is the responsibility of every father to make certain his children are vaccinated, bringing quotes from Shulchan Aruch citing the matter of שפיחת דמים, causing loss of life. Dr. Breuer told Kol Chai those who do not vaccinate their children are not aware of the damage they are causing and the responsibility they bear for the spread of the illness in proportions that have not been seen in decades.

Kol Chai:
The illness today is primarily in chareidi areas?

Dr. Breyer:
I don’t want to respond right now.

Kol Chai:
This is not speaking ill of any population but simply providing factual information to the chareidi tzibur listening to us now.

Dr. Breyer:
The illness came from a person visiting Israel from abroad but if parents vaccinated their children, we never would have reached the numbers we have today. Why do these people gamble with the lives of their children, after all they [the others] are not hefker.

Rav Sternbuch realizes what is taking place and admitted his is thinking if this possibly demands declaring a day of tefilla or a fast day, so we must realize the magnitude of what we are facing, the spread of the illness as we have not seen in decades. There are almost no reactions to be concerned with and I one again call on parents to have their children vaccinated immediately.

LLD DIAMOND USA, 580 Fifth Avenue, New York, LEVIEV’S “Sources of Rough Goods”

OUR HERITAGE.

LLD Diamonds has been supplying high quality diamonds to polishers, cutters and jewelers over the past three decades. Founded by renowned diamantaire, businessman and philanthropist Lev Leviev, LLD Diamonds USA is a member of the prestigious Leviev Group of Companies (LGC) and – uniquely among manufacturers – operates at every level of the diamond pipeline. With more than 30 years of experience in the diamond industry, is the world’s largest privately held diamond manufacturer. The firm is also the world’s largest diamond and cutting group and is entirely independent of external suppliers since the company has its own widespread sources of rough goods.

OUR EXPERTISE

LLD diamond’s source of rough straight from the mines, provides access to top quality rough. Our industry largest in-house cutting and polishing capabilities empower us to distribute finest diamonds and produce exquisite jewelry to the high-end jewelry manufacturers and retailers. We are passionate about diamonds, and this passion is at the heart of everything we do. We are not here simply to sell polished diamonds as just another product. Many outstanding diamonds pass through our offices on a daily basis, but we still see one as an exquisite gemstone on its way to bringing years of pleasure to its ultimate owner both of its exceptional physical beauty and for the love and commitment of a long-term relationship that it represents. LLD Diamonds, recognized as an international diamond industry leader, has been awarded multiple industry achievements and accolades, including Israel’s “Outstanding Exporter” government award.

OUR OPERATIONS

At LLD diamonds, we manufacture superior quality polished diamonds and are a source of high-level polished stones for clients worldwide. Our diamond industry knowledge together with our widespread market intelligence enables us to identify changing trends in different countries regarding cut, color and clarity and enabling us to provide customers with a range of goods. Our highly skilled and experienced craftsmen know how to bring out a diamond’s clarity and show the maximum fire and brilliance that a diamond possesses. We aim to consistently supply high-quality polished diamonds on time and precisely as requested. With our main sales office in the heart of the Diamond District at 580 Fifth Avenue, New York among other strategic locations worldwide, LLD is your “Natural Choice” of partner, no matter your size or needs.

Chabad Kinus 2018, Lev Leviev, Berel Lazar, Cozy Ties and Dancing in New York

101174_news_05112018_74695

The Forward October 8, 2017

Chabad Feuds With Jewish Leaders Over Cozy Ties To Eastern European Autocrats

In the former Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, established mainstream Jewish groups are increasingly worried that Chabad, the international Hasidic movement, is allying itself with authoritarian governments.

In countries from Hungary to Russia, they say, Chabad is at times playing down anti-Semitism in a bid to compete with local Jewish groups and win access to financial resources and political influence.

Chabad, in turn, says that mainstream groups are too embroiled in secular and political issues, including polarizing disputes about democracy and civil liberties, at the expense of guarding core communal Jewish interests of physical security and Jewish religious freedom. In some cases, Chabad officials say, these establishment groups are also corrupt.

The increasing tensions between Chabad and more established Jewish groups are playing out in different ways in different countries. Each case is unique:

*In Russia, Vladimir Putin has for years favored Chabad Rabbi Berel Lazar over the long-established chief rabbi of Russia, Adolf Shayevich. Shayevich aligned with a Jewish umbrella group that sought to keep its distance from the government in the post-Communist era. Lazar has been more supportive.

*In Poland, Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the ruling hard-right Law and Justice party, met in August with two Chabad representatives and the leader of a third Jewish group in a get-together that state media portrayed as a discussion with the community. Leaders of major groups who wrote Kaczyński about their fears of rising anti-Semitism in Poland were not invited.

*In Hungary, prominent Jews and non-Jews have criticized President Viktor Orbán for using anti-Semitic tropes in his extended national campaign against the American financier George Soros. A senior Hungarian Chabad rabbi, however, has defended Orbán.

Chabad, for its part, strongly defends its conception of and approach to Jewish interests. “When you start, as a representative of the community, mixing Jewish issues with political issues, even if they’re social, and saying you represent the whole Jewish community, it doesn’t work very well and is frankly dangerous,” one Chabad official in the United States said. “You’re mixing politics with what’s in the interest of the Jewish community.” Speaking on condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly, he explained: “Anti-Semitism is an issue for the Jewish community. Other rights are issues all [citizens] must grapple with, not the Jewish community uniquely.”

Founded in 1775 in what is today Belarus, Chabad-Lubavitch saw its ranks decimated after the Holocaust. But over the past decades, the movement, with its headquarters relocated to Brooklyn after World War II, has become a global force. Thousands of its emissaries, known as schlichim, are reaching out to Jews of all persuasions, on American college campuses and in outposts around the world.

“Chabad plays an outsized role” in post-Communist Eastern Europe, said David Shneer, professor of history, religious studies and Jewish studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. And Chabad, he said, “works with governments that allow Judaism to be practiced no matter their political orientation.” The Hasidic group does not, he said, see Jewry as an independent political force in the context of civil society, as in the American style. Instead, “Chabad uses its relationship to state power to become the face of Judaism,” Shneer said.

In some countries with histories of anti-Semitism and mixed records or worse during the Holocaust, Jewish activists are currently battling their governments’ efforts to promote heroic but distorted national accounts of the countries’ conduct during the Shoah. But “Chabad says we can’t dwell on the past,” Shneer said. “Chabad is waiting for the Messiah and needs Jews to do mitzvot,” or Torah-based commandments. That’s “about the present and future, not the past,” he said.

Konstanty Gebert, a prominent Polish journalist, traditionally observant Jew and early member of Solidarity, the trade union that ousted his country’s communist regime, didn’t mince words about what this means in his country. It was, he said, “an act of disloyalty to the existing Jewish community,” for two Chabad rabbis to meet recently with the leader of Poland’s hard-line nationalist ruling party in a session that excluded other Jewish groups that were pressing the leader publicly on alleged government tolerance—and even encouragement—of rising anti-Semitism,

The August 17 meeting, which also included the head of Poland’s Jewish Cultural Society and a controversial Israeli-British public relations consultant named Jonny Daniels, took place after major Jewish organizations wrote Kaczyński, about being “appalled by recent events and fearful for our security.”

Earlier that month, Bogdan Rzonca, a lawmaker with Kaczyński’s own Law and Justice Party, wrote on Twitter: “I wonder why there are so many Jews among those performing abortions, despite the Holocaust.” Jews protested that party leaders issued no reprimand.

They have also, among other things, criticized the government’s financial support for Radio Maria, a media empire whose anti-Semitic broadcasts have been condemned by the U.S. State Department, the Council of Europe, the Vatican and the Polish government’s own National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council.

Kaczyński ignored the leaders’ letter. Then, under headlines such as “Polish Ruling Party Head Meets With Jewish Community Leaders,” Polish state media played up Kaczyński’s meeting with Chabad and the other two Jewish figures.

“Obviously the government… is handpicking its Jews,” Gebert charged.

The response of the Chabad rabbi Mayer Stambler to this criticism is virtually a declaration of full autonomy. “Chabad-Lubavitch in Poland represents the Jews of Poland, as any other organization here does,” he said in an email to the Forward. The rabbi, who heads Chabad’s Warsaw outreach, added pointedly, “No group can claim to exclusively represent Polish Jewry.”

In their meeting, Stambler related, “We definitely raised the issue of anti-Semitism!”

Kaczyński, he said, “made it clear that he definitely supported Jewish life in Poland. And he certainly supports the State of Israel.” During their talk, the Polish leader acknowledged that anti-Semitism exists in Poland “in various circles and places,” said Stambler, “but it is impossible to accuse him and the leadership of his party of giving encouragement of any kind, [to] anti-Semitism.”

Last May, it was one of Chabad’s representatives in Hungary, Slomó Köves, who came to the defense of the country’s nationalist government when many Jewish and non-Jewish Hungarians raised concerns that Orbán was stoking populist hatred by using classical anti-Semitic themes in his campaign against Soros. Hungary’s Jewish umbrella group, the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, which, like Chabad, receives government support, has often shied away from speaking out against Orbán directly, but ultimately joined in the criticism. (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, sided with Chabad when he rebuked his ambassador in Budapest for raising the same criticism.)

Chabad leaders believe that through years of effort, they have earned the right to act autonomously in what they see as Jewish interests.

“We started with my wife and me,” said Rabbi Baruch Oberlander, the 51-year old chief Chabad rabbi in Hungary, as he sat in his book-filled office in Budapest’s historic Jewish Quarter.

Oberlander grew up in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, a son of Hungarian Holocaust survivors. He and his young wife — herself the daughter of a Chabad emissary in Italy — arrived in Budapest in 1989, right before the fall of the Communist regime.

“We came here to teach Judaism in a place where unfortunately they didn’t have the option,” Oberlander said. “The biggest problem of Judaism in Eastern Europe and the whole world is ignorance…. They don’t know what Judaism is all about, so you cannot expect them to stick to religion, to the culture and traditions that they don’t know and don’t understand.”

Oberlander set out to build a new Jewish infrastructure in Hungary: printing new translations of prayer books that have not been updated in seven decades, launching a publication, opening educational institutions and training a new generation of religious scholars.

At the same time, other Chabad shlichim were setting out on similar projects throughout the suddenly defunct Soviet bloc. As young Chabad couples began to expand their activities in the region, some developed close ties with the local authorities.

In 1990, Berel Lazar, Oberlander’s brother-in-law, arrived in Russia, where he found that the revived Jewish community, after years of underground development during the Soviet Jewry movement, already had its own nascent leadership. These activists from various organizations ultimately coalesced around an umbrella group known as the Russian Jewish Congress, led by Vladimir Gusinsky. An early oligarch under the Russian Federation’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, Gusinsky’s holding company included NTV, the leading private television network in Russia’s newly free media.

“Gusinsky was the most important leader of Russian Jewry,” said Alexander Osovtsov, a former executive vice president of the RJC who now lives in Israel. The RJC, meanwhile, was politically “neutral,” he said.

The young Lazar, however, befriended Lev Leviev, a wealthy Israeli-Uzbek in the diamond business. He later expanded his support network to include oligarchs like banker Roman Abramovich — and, when he succeeded Yeltsin, President Vladimir Putin himself.

“The uniqueness of Chabad is reaching out, not waiting for people to come with questions,” Lazar told the Forward in a phone interview.

But there are other incentives. Chabad emissaries get initial funding from the organization when they are sent to a new country, but they are then expected to fundraise locally. This puts pressure on Chabad rabbis to reach out to wealthy businesspeople and well-placed government officials for financial support.

With Putin’s ascent to the presidency in 2000, Gusinsky, who insisted on his media network’s journalistic independence, drew the Kremlin’s ire by running many pieces critical of the government. Lazar made a decision: He quit the Congress, and claimed the title of chief rabbi.

————————-

“Gusinksy was using his business and his position as a Jewish communal leader to oppose Putin politically,” the American Chabad official said. “And Rabbi Lazar and others said, ‘Look, it’s very fine for Jews to be part of that debate, but don’t bring the whole Jewish community down by picking a fight with the ruling party in the name of all Jews and Judaism.’”

Gusinsky, in defiance of the Kremlin, supported his media outlets’ investigation into the bombing of several buildings in Moscow that the government attributed to Chechen terrorists. Gusisnky’s NTV probed evidence cited by some independent investigators who raised the possibility that the bombings were in fact the work of the FSB, Russia’s successor intelligence agency to the KGB, seeking to influence upcoming elections.

The Kremlin response came quickly, on several fronts. A fraud investigation against Gusinsky eventually moved him to flee the country. And as part of Putin’s campaign to weaken Gusinsky, the newly elected president invited Chabad’s Lazar, instead of the longtime chief rabbi Shayevich, who was aligned with the RJC, to his inauguration. Since then, Lazar has been the Kremlin’s openly preferred Jewish leader, attending speeches and state events and receiving significant support from the government.

“Mr. Lazar is not independent,” Osovtsov said. “He is one of the members of Putin’s team. He’s the main Jew of Russia, according to the authorities and Putin’s personal decision.” Osovtsov pointed to Lazar’s recent conciliatory meeting with a pro-Putin politician who made openly anti-Semitic statements as evidence of the rabbi’s unquestioning loyalty to Putin.

“We’re not dealing with the Kremlin differently than any other government,” Lazar said in response. “The Kremlin has done a lot to support religion.” He cited examples, like the government’s support for the construction of a museum, and the return of Jewish community properties. “The Jewish religion [in Russia] is on par with all other religions,” he added. Moreover, “when it comes to values and morals,” the Kremlin’s position resembles that of Russia’s religious groups, he said.

Chabad officials insist that Russia is a unique case. But others in the region see Chabad rabbis trying to emulate Lazar’s approach in Russia.

In Poland, everyone is “a little bit hesitant because of what’s happening in Russia and Ukraine, with Chabad being very close to Putin,” said Jonathan Ornstein, who serves as the executive director of the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow. “I think that’s a little bit of what we had now with that meeting. The meeting was harmful for Polish Jewry.”

Chabad, Gebert said, “is certainly competing for the attention of the authorities…. By meeting with those it wants to meet with, [the government] sends a clear signal to the existing Jewish community,” whose leaders complain that the government is tolerating anti-Semitism.

“We have never claimed to represent all Jewish organizations or that we are the exclusive representatives of the community,” Stambler said in response. But at the same time, he added, “As an apolitical organization, we seek to maintain a positive relationship with the government, with all political parties, with relevant NGOs and with others.”

In Hungary, Chabad competes with the umbrella Jewish organization, the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, known under the acronym MAZSIHISZ, with both groups receiving government funding and unclaimed properties belonging to Hungary’s prewar Jewish community.

“We step up not only in favor of issues that directly affect the Jewish people,” said András Heisler, president of MAZSIHISZ, which eventually spoke out against Orbán’s anti-Soros campaign. “But we keep in mind the problems of the whole Hungarian society, from the issues of poverty up until exclusion, from persecution of Gypsy [Roma] people up until the xenophobia. We are not driven by interests of the government or the opposition, but the Torah and our conscience.”

It’s a striking counterpoint to Chabad’s narrower definition of Jewish interests.

“Many times people advocate for certain policies as ‘Jewish values,’” the American Chabad official said. “But are they really? They’re surely important values, but… just because some Jews feel strongly about something does not automatically make it a ‘Jewish value.’”

 

Read more: https://forward.com/news/world/384236/chabad-feuds-with-jewish-leaders-over-cozy-ties-to-eastern-european-autocra/

 

Massive Diamond Smuggling Scheme, Leviev and the Mishpacha…. How Long Ago Did We Publish this Information?

 

A No-Brainer Following Dots..

To Our Readers:

This was a no-brainer. The above pictures have been included because, as we see it, the entire diamond smuggling scheme is connected to Leviev’s activities in the US, whether quietly as an investor in Africa Israel or through his notorious ride through the closed tunnels of NYC.

We have presented you with our theories numerous times over the last several years, including the Congo connection, Leviev’s recent portfolio of assets changes, the China Sonongol connection. This was about connecting dots.

Leviev is the confidante of Berel Lazar, the chief Chabad Rabbi in Russia, the same Berel Lazar who defrauded Arkady Gaydamak out of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, which Mr. Gaydamak was never able to substantiate after years of trials. We think the courts had it wrong back then. Suffice it to say, Lazar and Putin are quite close in their relationship, including the revelation that Putin enjoys eating Matzoh.

Friends, we are suggesting that there is far more here than meets the eye. If you have followed our analysis of Leviev, Platinum Partners, 23 Wall, China Sonongol, the Queensway Group, the DRC, the notorious drive through the NYC tunnels without authorization to close those tunnels, you know that we have been largely spot-on.

Please reread our articles from way back, some of which we have linked above. We are spot on here too.

LM

 

 

Family of Lev Leviev, famous businessman, tied to massive diamond smuggling scheme

 

Son and brother of the well-known businessman among the suspects accused of multi-million dollar smuggling operation.

Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev was identified as the businessman whose relatives were arrested Monday morning over a massive diamond smuggling scheme.

Leviev’s son and brother were two out of six suspects arrested in early morning on suspicions of smuggling diamonds to Israel worth hundreds of millions of shekels. Also among the six was a a veteran employee of one of Leviev’s factories in Russia, who returned to Israel six years ago and took advantage of his status as a returning resident to smuggle diamonds in his many suitcases he took with him, according to The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew language sister publication Maariv.

News site Mako reported that the police will ask to investigate Leviev himself. His diamond company LLD said in a statement: “Mr. Leviev and the companies under his control act in accordance with the proper norms, while adhering to the law. We hope that the matter will soon be clarified and the suspicions will prove to be baseless.”

The arrests came following an undercover operation conducted by the Israel Police’s Lahav 443 National Crime Unit and the Tax Authority in collaboration with the State Attorney Office’s taxation and economics department.

The suspects are suspected of money laundering, customs offenses, offenses under the Income Tax Ordinance, conspiring to commit a crime, false registration of corporate documents, fraud, and other offenses.

Police suspect that the suspects each played a part in planning and smuggling diamonds into Israel over the course of several years, without reporting it to the relevant authorities.

The investigative units intend to carry out additional arrests both in Israel and abroad.

“The Israel Police will continue to focus enforcement against severe economic crime, while operating intelligence systems and conducting joint investigations with other enforcement authorities in order to expose the perpetrators of the offenses,” the police said.

Attorney Eyal Bessarglick, who represents one of the suspects together with attorney Keren Berkowitz, said “these are preliminary suspicions which we are certain will be refuted later on. Our client has nothing to do with the affair. He worked with the businessman more than six years ago and there is no evidence linking him to a criminal suspicion. We hope that the investigation will be concluded quickly so that our client can prove that he has nothing to do with the affair and the suspicions. ”

 

A Diamond of A Smuggler – Arrests and Ummmm… the Putin Connection?

lev leviev

Report Links Leviev to Diamond-Smuggling Arrests

Nov 5, 2018 10:03 AM   By Rapaport News

 

RAPAPORT… Israeli authorities suspect an employee at a Lev Leviev company of smuggling hundreds of millions of shekels worth of diamonds into the country, according to local news website Ynet.

A staff member at one of the diamond mogul’s businesses in Russia is suspected of smuggling large quantities of the stones in suitcases when he moved to Israel six years ago, the Ynet report said. Police also arrested Leviev’s son and brother, according to Israeli media.

Six people were arrested in total on Monday following an undercover investigation, a police spokesperson said. Police suspect them of money laundering, customs and income-tax violations, conspiring to commit a crime, fraud, and making false assertions in company documents, adding that authorities planned to apprehend further suspects in Israel and elsewhere.

The spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Leviev’s connection to the case. Leviev’s company was not immediately available for comment.

A Diamond of Scheme, What is a Diamond but a Piece of Glass? Lev Leviev and Some Glass in Suitcases…

lev leviev

THE LEVIEV STORIES… WE CALLED IT THEN, WE KNOW IT NOW…. DEVELOPING –

We direct your attention to articles LostMessiah published in 2016/2017 regarding Africa Israel, Jona Rechnitz, buildings in New York and California, namely the JPM Building on Wall Street and the Rialto Building in California. Further directing your attention to the  China Sonongol connection to that building, and our firm belief that, in no uncertain terms, NY City Police involvement included payments with uncut diamonds and the assistance of Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg in orchestrating these deals, vis a vis Rechnitz’s relationship with Lev Leviev through Africa Israel,  it comes as no surprise that Lev Leviev, along with his family members has been under investigation for smuggling diamonds between the Soviet Union, Great Britain and Israel.

As we said all along, a diamond when unpolished and cut is imply glass. He is accused, amongst other things, of simply enclosing those diamonds in luggage.

We will be flooding you with supporting articles that have been released this morning. You will have access to them in Hebrew and English. Please continue to follow the story closely. We were not wrong in our assessments at the time and we are not wrong now.

 

LM

ARTICLES TO FOLLOW:

JERUSALEM POST – 5.11.18 9:20AM

FAMILY OF LEV LEVIEV, FAMOUS BUSINESSMAN, TIED TO MASSIVE DIAMOND SMUGGLING SCHEME

Son and brother of the well-known businessman among the suspects accused of multi-million dollar smuggling operation.

Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev was identified as the businessman whose relatives were arrested Monday morning over a massive diamond smuggling scheme.

Leviev’s son and brother were two out of six suspects arrested in early morning on suspicions of smuggling diamonds to Israel worth hundreds of millions of shekels. Also among the six was a a veteran employee of one of Leviev’s factories in Russia, who returned to Israel six years ago and took advantage of his status as a returning resident to smuggle diamonds in his many suitcases he took with him, according to The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew language sister publication Maariv.
News site Mako reported that the police will ask to investigate Leviev himself. His diamond company LLD said in a statement: “Mr. Leviev and the companies under his control act in accordance with the proper norms, while adhering to the law. We hope that the matter will soon be clarified and the suspicions will prove to be baseless.”

The arrests came following an undercover operation conducted by the Israel Police’s Lahav 443 National Crime Unit and the Tax Authority in collaboration with the State Attorney Office’s taxation and economics department.

The suspects are suspected of money laundering, customs offenses, offenses under the Income Tax Ordinance, conspiring to commit a crime, false registration of corporate documents, fraud, and other offenses.

Police suspect that the suspects each played a part in planning and smuggling diamonds into Israel over the course of several years, without reporting it to the relevant authorities.

The investigative units intend to carry out additional arrests both in Israel and abroad.
“The Israel Police will continue to focus enforcement against severe economic crime, while operating intelligence systems and conducting joint investigations with other enforcement authorities in order to expose the perpetrators of the offenses,” the police said.

Attorney Eyal Bessarglick, who represents one of the suspects together with attorney Keren Berkowitz, said “these are preliminary suspicions which we are certain will be refuted later on. Our client has nothing to do with the affair. He worked with the businessman more than six years ago and there is no evidence linking him to a criminal suspicion. We hope that the investigation will be concluded quickly so that our client can prove that he has nothing to do with the affair and the suspicions. “

Continue reading

Rabbi Mordechai Aderet, Placing Blame for anti-Semitism on the Victims in Pittsburgh… An Intolerable Speech

Rabbi Mordechai Aderet and a Fundamentally Intolerable, Abhorrent and un-Jewish Sermon – view with caution…

We are publishing the entire article from http://www.advocate.com  We hope that the site is okay with the entire republication. We thank Rabbi Mordecai Aderet for directing us to the site, one we had not previously seen.

We note that by republishing and directing you to the site, we are not implying that the editors and collaborators of that site endorse or support this site, though we hope they do. Nor are we making any endorsements of that site (though we are so glad you exist).

With respect to Rabbi Mordechai Aderet, we can say that at least he had the decency to refer to the place where the act of violence in Pittsburgh occurred as a Shul. As for the rest…

As Jews, we of LostMessiah offer our apologies to the readership of http://www.advocate.com for the words of this Rabbi. We are sorry to the families of the victims. We are sorry to the fathers who were celebrating their son’s birth. We are horrified by the sentiments of Rabbi Aderet. It is earth-shatteringly despairing to view what he wrote and to know that there are likely many (Jews and non-Jews) who feel as he does. His comments do not reflect a Jewish view of events on that day. To the contrary, as we see it they are fundamentally anti-Jewish. 

Please be comforted in knowing that his profoundly disturbing commentary does not reflect the views of the large majority of the worldwide Jewish community. And, they sadly should not reflect the views of anyone with any level of humanity, decency, kindness, compassion and morality. Even if you do not believe in LGBTQ as a way of life, most certainly the murdering of Jews in a house of worship cannot be viewed as justifiable. 

The violence in Pittsburgh was a tragedy of epic proportions. It speaks volumes about the current state of affairs in the world. It should be resoundingly heard round the world, a message that history is repeating itself.  

Rabbi Aderet almost makes us understand anti-Semitism in all of its hateful underpinnings.  It is really hard not to hate Jews if all Jews are defined by his words. Please know, they are not.

We do not know why things happen as they do; but we are loathe to believe that G-d was punishing Jews for celebrating a son, whether they were two men, two women or a man and a woman, whether they drive on Shabbat or not. What happened on that day was an act of hatred, plain and simple. To view it as anything else, perhaps we should look to Rabbi Ateret’s belief system before we look to that of the victims of that dreadful day. 

 

 

Orthodox Rabbi: Pittsburgh Shooting Caused by Gay Parents Holding Bris

Rabbi Mordechai Aderet

New Jersey Orthodox Rabbi Mordechai Aderet publicly advised his followers not to attend a vigil for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting because the Jews were murdered during a bris for twins adopted by gay parents.

“Somebody came over to me and told me today that he got an email that people should go gather someplace here in town to give the Shema for those 11 people who got killed,” the rabbi said in a video that has amassed 10,000 views. “And I still said, I heard it’s a Conservative shul, I heard people drove on Shabbat, and I don’t think people should join these things.”

After remarking that Tree of Life was less strict than the sect of Judaism he adheres to, he went on to say his congregants should not attend the vigil because the local synagogue holding it had held a similar memorial for those murdered in the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, which he said was “for men to men.”

“That’s the same people that invited the people two years ago to say Tehillim for those lowlives,” Aderet asserted , referring to Pulse victims, whom he called “those sinners, trash.”

Tehillim is the Hebrew word for the Book of Psalms, which contains some of the most widely recognized phrases from the Torah.

“That’s reason enough not to join these people,” said the rabbi.

He then referenced an article published in The Advocate on a report from the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, a local LGBTQ group, that the synagogue shooting occurred during a bris or brit milah – a Jewish circumcision ceremony – for a gay couple’s twins.

“Do you know what it says on the whole internet, it’s called Advocate.com … you know about who were the parents?” Aderet bellowed. “Hashem said it to me. Two men. This is a brit milah in a Conservative shul and the two men adopted the boy and did the brit milah, and you wonder why there was a massacre?”

He went on to link the violence in Pittsburgh to the shooting in Florida, mistaking the city of Orlando, where Pulse is located, for Miami.

“I’m not sorry for this disaster,” he declared. “You attend a brit milah of two men?”

He concluded that those who attended a vigil for the murdered Jews were “spitting in Hashem’s face,” using a Jewish term for God.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Farthur.shaulov%2Fvideos%2F2254279428192582%2F&show_text=0&width=560

This is not the first time Aderet has made controversial remarks. In 2010, he made headlines when he crashed a birthday party held by Persian Jews on New York’s Long Island and told guests that if they stayed they would be cursed with  “illness, bankruptcy, and tragedy for eternity.”

Partygoers believe the incident happened because Aderet was unhappy with the neighborhood becoming increasingly secular, according to The New York Jewish Week.

66th Precinct, Shomrim, Violence and the Hispanic Victims of the Crimes, Who is Hating Whom?

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-metro-false-accusation-orthodox-borouh-park-nypd-20181101-story.html

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Dear Readers:

We ask that you watch the video as linked above carefully.  It can be found on the page covering the related article on THE DAILY NEWS. 

Our sources have told us that it is not uncommon for Hispanic and other non-ultra-Orthodox community members to be “roughed up” by members of the ultra-Orthodox community and by members of the Shomrim (or neighborhood watch). We have been told that the non-ultra-Orthodox victims of these crimes rarely say anything at all for fear that anything they say will be deemed “hate speech” thereby paving the way for the involvement of the Hate Crimes Unit.

Self-defense should not be deemed a hate crime.

Our sources have stated that it is particularly colorful when these incidents occur in the 66th Precinct, with specific implications that precinct members are permitted to moonlight after work and moonlighting for the ultra-Orthodox community can be very lucrative.

We suppose it might also help with anger management at the end of a rough day…

We have been told that there are likely many more similar videos like the one above that either have not been exposed, are “lost,” “hidden,” or “missing.” The stories we are receiving are similar to tales of protection money and gang violence, though more common in the setting of “collections.”

It might be time for law enforcement to start paying attention to what is going on within the ultra-Orthodox communities. There are CCTV cameras everywhere in that community. If you are not finding one, or if the video happens to be missing or shut off, there is something very wrong.

The members of the ultra-Orthodox community are not generally sloppy. If there is no footage it is because someone did not want there to be footage.

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-metro-false-accusation-orthodox-borouh-park-nypd-20181101-story.html

Hispanic man allegedly roughed up in his doorway by Jewish neighborhood security patrol raises questions about group’s tactics

An accusation that a Brooklyn man yelled “Kill all the Jews” sparked a wild confrontation that led to an arrest that was later voided — and raised questions about members of a neighborhood patrol who allegedly pulled the man from his home and roughed him up.

The confrontation, captured on video obtained by the Daily News, happened just past midnight last Thursday. The footage shows a 26-year-old Hispanic man getting accosted at the doorway to his home — on 42nd St., in the heart of Orthodox Borough Park — by two other men believed to be from Shmira, a neighborhood patrol group, a source said.

Shmira denied being involved in the confrontation, saying it showed up on the scene after the Hispanic man was involved in the altercation at his front door.

“We absolutely didn’t do anything wrong,” said Levi Leifer, the director of Shmira of Borough Park.

Police said the incident started when the Hispanic man and an Orthodox man argued about a blocked car. At some point, police said, the Hispanic man tried to get into his home.

But video taken from across the street showed the Hispanic man being followed up the stairs by another man, then pushing back as the man appeared to be keeping him from getting inside. Eventually, a third man joins in as the Hispanic man is pulled back outside and roughed up.

The video ends with a van pulling up in front of the house and several men piling out of it, as one of the men involved in the confrontation at the doorway motions towards it.

Police said the Orthodox man involved in the argument about the blocked car called Shmira and reported that the Hispanic man yelled “Kill all the Jews” and punched him. The same allegation was made to police.

The source said other video shows the Hispanic man crossing the street, then arguing with two Orthodox men who accused him of breaking into cars.

“Kill Jews,” they later accused the Hispanic man of saying. The Hispanic man, who could not be reached for comment, at some point was able to call police, the source said.

Neighbors told The News varying accounts, including that the Hispanic man mentioned he wanted to kill Jews.

The Hispanic man was arrested based on the account of the first Orthodox man he argued with. He was taken to the 66th Precinct and the Hate Crime Unit was called in to investigate. After video was located the Hispanic man was released.

Police wouldn’t say what led to the decision not to charge the men seen roughing up the Hispanic man, though Leifer said Shmira has given the NYPD a roster of all its members.

A law enforcement source said the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is considering assault charges in the case.

The DA’s office had no comment.

To continue to the original article, click here.

And a Step to the Left, Mazel Tov to Dr. Aliza Bloch for Unseating the Shas Affiliated Mayor in Beit Shemesh

As a note to this article, we believe that this is a remarkable things for Israel, for Beit Shemesh and for the secular and religious communities. Dr. Bloch is a moderate and the defeat was of a radical conservative.

History in Beit Shemesh

Counting of soldiers’ votes finds Dr. Aliza Bloch has defeated incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul and will be the city’s first female mayor.

Aliza Bloch

Dr. Aliza Bloch, the Zionist candidate for Mayor of the city Beit Shemesh, on Wednesday night won the mayoral elections in the city by 500 votes over incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul.

By doing so, she will become the first woman to head the city of Beit Shemesh.

Overnight Wednesday, 1,300 votes were counted in Beit Shemesh, including about 300 of disabled persons, about 1,000 of soldiers and a few dozen prisoners. At the end of the counting it became clear that Bloch had closed the gap of 251 votes that separated her from Abutbul and even gained an advantage.

Upon learning of her victory, Bloch delivered a speech outside her campaign headquarters.

“The people of Israel look at the city of Beit Shemesh and wake up to a new hope. Beit Shemesh decided to cancel the walls and partitions,” she said, adding, “Today we have proven to ourselves and to Israeli society that we respect each other and do not create gaps.”

“As mayor of Beit Shemesh, I intend to engage in finding the good and the common, and together we will become a model for Israeli society, each of whom will live his life in his own way with respect for the other,” Bloch declared.

Education Minister Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett congratulated Bloch on her victory.

“I congratulated Aliza Bloch on her historic win in Beit Shemesh. This was a critical campaign for the future of the city. The residents of Beit Shemesh chose hope, unity and future. We agreed to meet next week to build a plan to boost education in the city. Something new is starting in Beit Shemesh,” Bennett tweeted.

Bloch, married and mother of four, is an educator by trade and has won many awards in this field.

Continue reading

A Diamond of a Corruption Trial – De Blasio Attesting to Rechnitz’s Character? Pot Meet Kettle, Kettle Meet Pot

Image result for pics of jona rechnitz and jeremy reichberg

De Blasio subpoenaed to testify at NYPD corruption trial

A former NYPD official wants to force Mayor Bill de Blasio to testify on his behalf when he goes on trial in a hooker-fueled corruption case next week.

Lawyers for ex-Deputy Inspector James Grant served a subpoena on City Hall on Tuesday to force de Blasio to take the witness stand for the defense in Manhattan federal court.

Defense lawyer John Meringolo said de Blasio could help Grant by impugning the credibility of Jona Rechnitz, a former de Blasio donor who’s pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is set to serve as a key prosecution witness.

“[De Blasio] has publicly stated that Mr. Rechnitz is a felon and a liar, so who better than the mayor of New York City to attest to Mr. Rechnitz’ character?” he said.

Meringolo also insisted the move wasn’t a stunt, and vowed to fight any efforts by the city to quash the subpoena.

“It’s a lawful subpoena,” said Meringolo, who’s also a professor at Pace Law School in White Plains.

“[De Blasio] made these statements to the press, and he should make them to a jury.”

Last year, de Blasio blasted Rechnitz after Rechnitz testified at another corruption trial that he got access to the mayor by donating to his campaign, a non-profit the mayor set up and a 2013 effort to elect Democrats to the state Senate.

“Jona Rechnitz is a liar and a felon. It’s as simple as that,” de Blasio said during an October 2017 news conference in Brooklyn.

The mayor also called Rechnitz “just a horrible human being”

Grant is accused of performing official favors in exchange for gifts from Rechnitz and another former de Blasio donor, co-defendant Jeremy Reichberg,

The alleged payoffs include a group trip to Las Vegas on a private plan with a prostitute dressed as a flight attendant.

Jury selection is set for Monday.

In May, Grant subpoenaed testimony from about a dozen current and former NYPD cops, including Police Commissioner James O’Neill, and Meringolo said ex-Commissioner Bill Bratton was also served with a subpoena last week.

City lawyers have moved to quash those subpoenas, but a hearing on the matter hasn’t been set, Meringolo said.

In an email statement, de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips said, “The Mayor wasn’t involved in the case and would have nothing to add but a needless sideshow.”

Earlier this year, a defense lawyer at the corruption trial of former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano threatened to subpoena de Blasio to testify about his public denial that he took bribes from the government’s star witness in that case.

But lawyer Marc Agnifilo, who represented co-defendant and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, rested his case without calling de Blasio to the stand.

Venditto was acquitted, while Mangano and his wife Linda scored a hung jury. Their retrial is set for next year.

The NY Post Article click here.

A Leviathan of a Step for Private Interests – Noble-Delek, Private Interests to Gain Over Public – East Gas

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Egyptian Intel Is Big Gainer From Israeli Gas Deal, Report Says

The Egyptian intelligence service is slated to receive 80 percent of the income from East Gas, the main beneficiary of a massive natural gas deal with Israel

Delek Drilling’s partner in the EMG gas pipeline to Egypt, the Egyptian company East Gas, is owned by Egypt’s intelligence service, Egyptian news site Mada Masr reported.

East Gas, the main beneficiary of plans to export Israeli natural gas to Egypt’s private consortium Dolphinus Holdings via the EMG pipeline, is a private company, most of whose shares are held by Egypt’s intelligence service, says the report.

To really understand Israel and the Middle East – subscribe to Haaretz

“The gas import deal — scheduled to come into effect early next year — found that the repeated claims by Egyptian government officials that the venture is a purely private sector affair wholly outside the ‘government framework’ are misleading at best,” stated Mada Masr in its report.

The intelligence service is slated to receive 80% of East Gas’s income, it states.

Furthermore, Egyptian intelligence also has an interest in Dolphinus, says the Egyptian news outlet.

“Documents and sources reveal that through a complex web of overseas shell corporations and subsidiaries, the intelligence body stands to cash in at all stages of the deal, from the transport of Israeli gas to Egypt to its final sale to the Egyptian government. These profits end up in the coffers of the GIS, and not the public budget,” states Mada Masr.

The news site says the intelligence service worked through shell companies in countries including the Virgin Islands, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Netherlands, in order to conceal the identity of the Egyptian players, avoid taxes and shield them from accountability.

Israel is supposed to start exporting gas to Egypt’s Dolphinus consortium in March 2019, via the EMG pipeline. The gas, from Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan reserves, is valued at $15 billion. Last month, Delek, Noble and East Gas announced they were buying 39% of EMG’s shares for $518 million.

Meanwhile, Egypt recently discovered its own massive offshore gas reserves. Mada Masr says the Dolphinus deal does not appear to be in Egypt’s best interests, as the Israeli gas costs significantly more than locally produced Egyptian gas.

Noble-Delek and the “Tzemach Report” – Is the Current Deal Consistent with Findings?

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NOBLE-DELEK AND THE TZEMACH REPORT – ARE THE TWO CONSISTENT?  IS THE PUBLIC PROTECTED FROM PRIVATE INTERESTED STAKEHOLDERS?

In 2013, the U.S. Commercial Service – Israel Department of Commerce in its No. 6 newsletter published a summary and findings of the Israeli Knesset, and a report entitled the “Tzemach Report.” The Tzemach Report was commissioned by a committee named after Shaul Zemach (Tzemach) who was an outspoken proponent of creating a clear and concise policy regarding Israel’s natural resources, in particular its mining of oil and gas and the corresponding export.

It should be noted that the report is spelled interchangeably between Zemach and Tzemach throughout. It should be further noted that Tzemach translated to English is a plant – something that grows.

Of significant concern in the creation of the committee were issues related to whether Noble Energy and Delek Group, Ltd. represented a cartel and violated antitrust rules in Israel, whether the costs associated with drilling and export and the environmental impact outweighed the benefits to the people, whether private ownership of the wells, the drilling rights and ultimately the assets exported would benefit the public at large or simply the private stakeholders. 

The Committee was created to fashion a set of protocols which would determine things like: the amount exports permitted, what constituted an arms’ length transaction in the gas/oil mining industry, whether the Israeli people would benefit from exports, prices, taxation, competing interests, and a number of other guidelines.

We have posted for your review 20 of 25 of the pages of the U.S. Commercial Service’s Newsletter. The link for the remainder of the Newsletter can be found by clicking here. The importance of this report, the underlying articles used (most of which were reported in Globes at the time) as we see it relates to the current Noble-Delek deal on the table.

It is our firm belief that private stakeholders, many of whom are wealthy US and non-Israeli investors, stand far more to gain than either the Israelis or the Egyptians who we think should be wary of the deal. We believe that the Tzemach Report outlined significant underlying concerns and the influence of the private stakeholders has paved the way for the governing bodies to ignore those concerns.

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Ex-Soros Trader Sued For Viciously Abusing Women In “Manhattan Sex Dungeon” — peoples trust toronto

Out of all the stories of harassment, abuse and victimization of women that have emerged since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last month, this one is possibly the most repugnant. To wit, the New York Post reported Friday that a former portfolio manager at Soros Fund Management, a firm founded by Billionaire investor George Soros, […]

via Ex-Soros Trader Sued For Viciously Abusing Women In “Manhattan Sex Dungeon” — peoples trust toronto

Chief Rabbi David Lau and his Brand of Jewish Fundamentalism – Inshallah!

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Israeli Fundamentalism – Becoming More Like It’s Neighbors…

Those of us who are of Ashkenazi descent are ashamed to say that our alleged Israeli spiritual leader or quasi leader of sorts is not so different than his nearby radical Muslim leaders. As Lau has done with his disturbing comments regarding the Pittsburgh shootings, the nearby radical spiritual leaders of Islam judge and define their own by the level of faith of  their religious adherents.

Rabbi David Lau has refused to refer to the synagogue in which numerous Jews were observing a Simcha and perished at the hands of a bigoted murder. Where is Lau any different than the Muslim leader who straps a suicide vest on a Shahid? In secret, we wonder, is David Lau relieved that there are  few less of the unfaithful in the world?

If Israel’s Jewish religious leaders cannot stand up and respect their fellow Jews, be tolerant and inclusionary, where does Israel differ from any of its fundamentalist neighbors. There may be a place in this world for David Lau’s brand of Judaism. We sadly do not believe it is as a spiritual leader of the Jewish state, one on the verge of being de-legitimized by its Arab neighbors, again.

BREWING CONTROVERSY: PM Netanyahu Calls Pittsburgh Congregation a “Synagogue” After Chief Rabbis Did Not

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the 11 Jewish victims of the Shabbos morning massacre in Pittsburgh were killed in a “synagogue,” taking a veiled swipe at the country’s ultra-Orthodox chief rabbis, who had refused to designate the Conservative Jewish congregation as such.

The exchange exposed some of the recent strains between Israel and the more liberal Jewish Diaspora, even in the wake of the deadliest anti-Semitic attack against Jews in U.S. history.

The shooting has drawn fierce condemnations and calls for unity among Jews in Israel and around the world. Several ultra-Orthodox Israeli newspapers, however, refrained from calling Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue a Jewish place of worship since they don’t recognize non-Orthodox denominations, instead mostly referring to it as a “Jewish center.”

Similarly, Chief Rabbi David Lau told a local newspaper that the shooting attack was “unforgivable” but also referred to the Conservative synagogue merely as “a place with a profound Jewish flavor.”

In a tweet, Netanyahu seemed to rebuff him.

“Jews were killed in a synagogue. They were killed because they are Jews. The location was chosen because it is a synagogue. We must never forget that. We are one,” he wrote.

 

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox often question the faith and practices of the more liberal Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism, to which most American Jews unfortunately belong.

Netanyahu’s coalition government relies on the support of Chareidi parties and he has often had to capitulate to their demands on matters of religion and state. The Chareidi establishment views other strains of Judaism as too lax in many issues – such as Geirus and marriages, while American Jews have increasingly felt that they haven’t been valued in Israel as equals despite their ardent backing and identification.

A government decision to scrap plans for a mixed-gender prayer area at the Kosel, and insults hurled at those pushing for it, has led American Jewish leaders to warn that it could undermine their long-standing political, financial and emotional support for Israel.

The recent passing of a controversial law enshrining the state’s Jewish character, which critics at home and abroad say has undercut Israel’s traditional democratic values, has also irked American Jews, who increasingly find themselves at odds with the government’s nationalist, religious and pro-settlement bent.

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Media personality Judy Nir Mozes published a tweet in which she criticized the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rishon L’Tzion HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef and Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi HaGaon HaRav Dovid Lau, following an article in which they refrained from referring to the Tree of Life Shul in Pittsburgh as a “synagogue” because it is affiliated with the Conservative Movement.

Nir Moses shared the article and called the chief rabbis “miserable. “People were murdered in the synagogue only because they are Jews, and you, you wretched ones, cannot even honor them with their death?”

Nir Moses added: “The God I believe in respects every Jew, even if he is a Conservative or a Reform Jew. Nir-Mozes turned to Rabbi Lau in a dismissive way and wrote: “Lau Junior, your father would not express himself like that, it’s a shame that the apple fell far from the tree.”

Yair Lapid, head of the centrist opposition Yesh Atid party, said the tragic shooting should serve as a reminder to “those who claim the Reform and the Conservative are not real Jews.” He called on the government to restore the mixed-gender prayer site and to recognize the conversions of all strains.

“The state of Israel bows its heads for their deaths, but this is not enough,” he said in parliament. “Not only in their deaths are they Jews like us, but in their lives. Not only in their deaths should the government respect them, but also in their lives.”

 

The California Bank Backing Hasidic Developers…. AND 199 LEE AVENUE

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199 LEE AVENUE, GLOBAL PROPERTY ASSET MANAGEMENT, SECTION 8 HOUSING, 421A TAX ABATEMENTS, LIQUIDITY AND THE TAGWORDS FOR THE  MONEY THAT FINANCES HASIDIC DEVELOPERS

199 Lee Avenue is really little more than a building with thousands of PO Boxes. Most of the PO Boxes represents another company. Most if not all of which are Hasidic owned and some of which are the actual registered addresses for assorted companies which may or may not be real companies.

In fact, 199 Lee Avenue was also tied to the late Menachem Stark and properties that he owned.

We think it no coincidence, however, that in 2016 there was an investigation into the PO Boxes and some of the connected LLC’s; an investigation that appeared to end with Kushner and the White House, though the article below suggests that to credit Kushner in the White House is a stretch. Perhaps.

We will say this. It is not the first time 199 Lee Avenue has been on our radar and will likely not be the last. But rather than try and tell you to entire story again, we have highlighted the relevant passages of the articles below in Red. That should tell it all.

We believe that the authorities, Federal and State Tax authorities, the SEC (think REIT’s) and the FBI should still be paying attention, not only to 199 Lee but to a number of connected addresses, some of which are listed below. Please pay attention to the below wherein it states that the Hasidic communities are some of the largest recipients of Section 8 Housing. We also presume that Medicare and Medicaid go hand-in-hand with that, a logical conclusion. But if you take a look at he numbers, particularly as they stand today, it simply does not make logical or reasonable sense. 

 

It’s 1999. AOL is how most people receive email, and computers everywhere could soon succumb to the Millenium bug. It’s also the year when a new lender emerges and quickly gains a reputation for catering to wealthy clients with “complicated” personal finances. Its name? Bank of Internet.

Flash forward to 2018. The bank has rebranded to BofI Federal, emerged unscathed from a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and has made a major bet on a niche corner of New York commercial real estate — backing projects from some of Brooklyn’s most prolific Orthodox Jewish developers. It does this mostly by acquiring senior notes on loans originated by other funds.

Lately, the bank has been in the headlines for a pair of real estate loans tied to Kushner Companies, as ProPublica reported. At Toby Moskovits’ Bushwick office redevelopment at 215 Moore Street, BofI refinanced the last-known Brooklyn development loan held by Kushner Credit Opportunities Fund, a debt vehicle Kushner Companies founded in 2016. At One Journal Square in Jersey City, BofI put up funds to finance Fortress Investment Group’s $57 million bridge loan to Kushner Companies. That two-tower project has been plagued by problems, both political and financial, and it’s unclear if the company will be able to see it through.

In an interview with The Real Deal, Gregory Garrabrants, BofI’s CEO, said it was misleading to draw any connection between his firm’s business with Kushner Companies and the fact that the SEC investigation was dropped.

“There’s a political agenda behind talking about Kushner,” Garrabrants said. “I don’t know Mr. Kushner, but I don’t have to because we know Fortress.”

Deep Brooklyn

Though BofI, a San Diego-based company with $8.9 billion in assets, has long been active in single-family lending in New York, it only recently got into commercial real estate. Sources said it started to appear as a financing option in “warehouse lending,” in which a bank issues a loan to a warehouse owner and funds that loan with debt from a secondary lender, such as BofI. Essentially, it’s a way for lenders to issue loans without having to use their own money. This type of deal is often referred to as loan hypothecation, in which the original loan is the collateral for the debt a lender seeks from a bank.

“It’s more of a West Coast thing,” said David Eyzenberg, a debt broker, on the hypothecation structure. “Where we really got to know [BofI] was in providing leverage to hard-money lenders.”

The bank’s services have been especially appealing to developers in Brooklyn, specifically the middle-market investors and luxury rental builders hailing from the borough’s ultra-Orthodox communities, according to an analysis of property records by TRD. The analysis found that of Bofl’s 10 largest loans backed by real estate in the last three years, eight were tied to assets owned by Brooklyn developers, including a number from Williamsburg’s Hasidic community.

Hasidic developers commonly prefer to finance in smaller loan increments over several stages, allowing them to revise design plans or recapitalize with additional partners and then restructure the financing, sources said. The approach stands in contrast with Manhattan’s development giants, which traditionally shoot for a large institutional loan up-front.

Charles Kushner, Toby Moskovits, 215 Moore Street and 61 Adams Street

“There is a certain type of sponsor turning to this bank for land and development deals, which have a higher cost of capital and are harder to finance,” said an investor familiar with the bank who requested anonymity. “And so the bank has largely been serving as a bridge lender to the same players.”

The list includes prominent Hasidic builders such as Simon Dushinsky’s Rabsky Group, Abraham Leser’s Leser Group, Cheskie Weisz’s CW Realty and Zelig Weiss’ Riverside Developers. Public records show Dushinsky has the most debt on BofI’s books, with more than $80 million spread across three loans.

The model means BofI has little to no interaction with the sponsors themselves. Scott Barone, whose firm Barone Management secured $15.8 million from BofI via Emerald Creek Capital in 2016, said he “never had any actual dealings with them.”

Sources identified Sal Salzillo as one of the main point people leading lender financings on development deals for BofI in New York. However, Salzillo left in March for Sandhills Bank, a South Carolina-based bank owned by the Kalikow real estate family. He could not be reached for comment.

Garrabrants wouldn’t reveal the names of his New York real estate team members and said the firm does not target any specific community for its business.

“There’s no specific marketing or any kind of specific targeting of any particular group of borrowers,” he said.

The wide web

In 2016, the SEC started hitting the bank with subpoenas, after a whistleblower filed a lawsuit in 2015 alleging the bank might have been lending illegally to certain foreign nationals  in possible violation of federal money laundering laws. The suit also alleged the bank failed to fully disclose certain loan practices to regulators. The SEC dropped its investigation in June 2017 without taking any legal action. Garrabrants attributed the lawsuit and subsequent inquiries to the machinations of angry short sellers who watched the bank’s stock continue to climb. In a January 2017 earnings call, he called the allegations “fake news.”

But some have questioned whether the SEC dropping its investigation and the bank’s lending to a major Kushner Companies development project is too much of a coincidence. Jared Kushner joined the White House last January as a senior adviser, and although he has resigned from company positions, he still retains ownership in much of the company portfolio. Garrabrants dismissed these questions as part of a “tin-hat conspiracy” and said the SEC cleared the investigation months before it began talks with Fortress — Kushner’s lender at One Journal Square — about acquiring the senior interest in the loan.

Kushner Companies has faced a series of challenges at the project and it appears unlikely that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a Democrat, will grant the company building permits or tax abatements, though he denies it has anything to do with opposition to the Trump administration. Garrabrants was critical of Fulop, but said BofI will make money in the deal regardless. If Kushner Companies can’t build it or if it defaults, someone else will get the project done, he said.

“With respect to any kind of hurdles that arise as a result of any kind of issues related to some of the things that I’m sure people who are motivated in certain in manners put in place,” Garrabrants said in a statement apparently directed at Fulop, “hurdles in respect to [Kushner] in particular, and essentially punish him for his political affiliation, those are more difficult.”

However, he continued, “If we ended up with an ownership interest. … There will be people lining up to make sure that we don’t lose money on that project.

 

THE REAL DEAL ARTICLE TO FOLLOW:

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A Rumored Meeting Between Legends in Chabad and the Satmar?

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Rubashkin and Mirilashvili to Meet in Rockland County with Unknown Satmar Heads and Maybe Others?

This year’s Chabbad Kinus is proudly featuring the Reb Yitzchak Mirilashvili as the keynote speaker to speak before thousands of ultra-Orthodox, at an event which is scheduled to take place during the first week of November at Rockland Community College, Rockland County, New York.

Sources close to the Kinus have told us that it is attended by thousands, not only members of Chabad but also members of other sects, including the Satmar whose leaders are usually present. This year is expected attract the largest attendance of any thus far and security is expected to be tight. While we had hoped women were also invited, we have been advised that this is a G.O.L.F. (gentlemen only, women forbidden) event.

As to the keynote speaker, while we cannot diminish the importance of the  donations that Reb Mirilashvili has made to Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Mikvahs, Torah Scrolls, etc), we can’t quite shed the feeling that the providence of that money can’t possibly be cleansed within the waters of a Mikvah (or several).  Reb Mrilashvili’s father Michael, it is said, “has an unusually colorful history” so too, we would guess does the family fortune. Be that as it may, the Chabad movement has been proud of it’s donors (think Mark Nordlicht, Lev Leviev, etc.) and we cannot forget about Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin, another darling of Chabad, along with Rabbi Berel Lazar, who is quick to tell us how much Putin loves Mazoh. We cannot begrudge Chabad the fame and fortune of such a legendary list of “Philanthropists.”.  

Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, if you will recall, was welcomed home with open arms, singing and dancing after President Trump provided him with a promised Presidential Pardon, something we understand came as a tradeoff for Chabad support of Trump’s election. Whether or not the current investigation into Russian meddling has any connection is a matter of speculation.  That said,  after Rubashkin’s return, “Rubashkin spoke enthusiastically in a mix of English and Yiddish, thanking President Trump for commuting his sentence, describing him as a messenger of G-d.”

Sources close to the community have told us that Rubashkin, whose pardon was supported by thousands both online and elsewhere, is enjoying his fame and good fortune; and as a pardoned man has a significant measure of perceived untouchability. So, it would not surprise us to learn that he is allegedly the bridge between warring Jewish factions, particularly where discussions of financial  matters are concerned.

Sources close to the organization of all of the events have told us that there is a planned meet sometime during the weekend of the event to be attended by the heads of Chabad and Satmar and, while we were unable to verify with certainty, there may be other sects represented at that clandestine meeting also.  

In our opinion and given the entire Kinus operation is intended to raise money, it sounds like something out of a Francis Ford Coppola or a Martin Scorcesi movie.

 

Guest Keynote At The Banquet: Mr. Yitzchak שי׳ Mirilashvili 

We are honored to share that Reb Yitzchak Mirilashvili will be the guest keynote speaker at this year’s Gala Banquet.

Through his Keren Meromim Foundation he supports dozens of revolutionary projects spreading Torah learning, Chessed and outreach while supporting hundreds of Shluchim in Eretz Yisroel and throughout the world.

The Mirilashvlili family have become exemplary partners to Shluchim and communities around the world, committed to perpetuating and expanding the Rebbe’s vision accross the globe.

New York – From Monsey To Brooklyn, Rubashkin Greeted By Thousands On Street In Joyous Celebrations

New York – Just hours after word broke that President Donald Trump had commuted his sentence, Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin received a hero’s welcome at his family home in the New Hempstead section of Monsey.

Thousands took to the streets in Brooklyn and revelers packed Lubavitch world headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, where cases of Smirnoff were rolled in to celebrate the good news, an unexpected gift from the White House that came in the final moments of Chanukah.

But the level of joy in Monsey was off the charts as throngs of people packed the two block long South Gate Drive where the Rubashkin family has been living for the last several years in order to be the first to greet the 57 year old after his release from the federal penitentiary in Otisville.

Police blocked off streets in all directions to accommodate the sudden influx of cars to the area, with some drivers abandoning their vehicles and walking because traffic had come to a complete standstill.

Photographer Shimon Gifter was the first member of the media to speak with Rubashkin after his release in an exclusive VIN news interview that took place aboard a coach bus as he prepared to leave Monsey for a trip to Brooklyn to visit his parents in Borough Park, Lubavitch world headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway and the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Ohel in Queens.

Free of Otisville and its orange prison garb and surrounded by family members including some grandchildren that he had never met,  Rubashkin was dressed in a black jacket, pants and hat and a white shirt as he spoke about the importance of being “b’simcha” at all times.

Asked what message he would like to send to President Trump, Rubashkin said that he prays for Trump every day.

“G-d should bless him and the United States of America,” added Rubashkin.

 

ABOUT MICHAEL MIRILASHVILI

The Russian-Israeli Billionaires Embroiled in Israel’s Latest Corruption Investigation

His life and business career suffered a lengthy interruption when he spent eight years in prison on charges related to the kidnapping of his father. In August 2000, his father, Moshe Mirilashvili, a prominent member of the Jewish community who served as president of the Congress of Georgian Jewry, was kidnapped in broad daylight on a main road in St. Petersburg. He was released just two days later, and a month and a half after the abduction, the bodies of two of the kidnappers were found.

Michael Mirilashvili was arrested and charged with several offenses, including attempted murder. In August 2003, he was convicted of kidnapping and lesser charges but acquitted on the charge of attempted murder, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The conviction sent “shock waves” through the Russian Jewish community, the Jewish press reported at the time, saying it was widely believed that Mirilashvili was being targeted, either by rival businessmen or by powerful politicians.

Mirilashvili’s legal team fought his sentencing, calling it “enormously unjust” and “enormously severe.” In 2004, Mirilashvili appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, arguing that his rights had been violated and that he did not receive a fair trial. He was vindicated in 2009, when the European court ruled that his conviction and sentencing was unfair. That year he was released from prison and he moved his home base to Israel, where he continued his business activities in Russia and began investing heavily in Israel and elsewhere.

Since his release, Mirilashvili has held an annual party with rabbis and politicians to celebrate his freedom. Attendees this year included Dery, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and former cabinet ministers Gideon Sa’ar and Ariel Atias.

Mirilashvili’s close ties to politicians were also seen in 2010, when businessman Ofer Nimrodi threw Mirilashvili a party for his 50th birthday at his house in Savion – one of Israel’s richest communities. Some 350 people attended that party, which was said to have cost some $1 million, including Edelstein, lawmakers Tzachi Hanegbi and Meir Shitrit, as well as former chief rabbi Yona Metzger.

The indictment filed against Metzger alleged that Mirilashvili gave Metzger $250 thousand in for the wedding of the former chief rabbi’s son. Mirilashvili wasn’t indicted and Metzger was ultimately convicted in a plea bargain and sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.

The Black Cube, #MeToo, Harvey Weinstein: Another way for the Wealthy to Silence People, Scare them, intimidate them…

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News DeskFROM THE NEW YORKER NOVEMBER 26, 2017

Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies

The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists.

 

In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to its literature.

Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her. One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan. The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press. In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details.

The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.

In some cases, the investigative effort was run through Weinstein’s lawyers, including David Boies, a celebrated attorney who represented Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential-election dispute and argued for marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court. Boies personally signed the contract directing Black Cube to attempt to uncover information that would stop the publication of a Times story about Weinstein’s abuses, while his firm was also representing the Times, including in a libel case.

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When the Investigators Need to be Investigated… Lakewood, New Jersey and Medicaid Cheats (and their helpful investigators)

TOP INVESTIGATOR FIRED AFTER NJ CUT $2.6M DEALS WITH LAKEWOOD CHEATS

One of the lead investigators into the prevalent welfare fraud in Lakewood and Ocean County was fired on the same day that officials gave Medicaid cheats as the deadline to turn themselves in.

Andrew Poulos, the former supervising investigator with the Office of the State Comptroller’s Medicaid Fraud Division, was terminated from his $95,300 job on Dec. 12 after six years, according to employment records obtained by New Jersey 101.5.

This is the third law enforcement or government position Poulos has left after questions were raised about his methods, according to legal documents and published reports.

It is not clear if Poulos was the Comptroller’s Office staffer who struck deals that allowed some applicants to pay back just half of what they owed. The deals meant that the Medicaid cheats got to keep $2.6 million, slightly more than what the state got them to repay.

State Comptroller Philip J. Degnan last week acknowledged that the deals ran against his public pronouncements that the people granted immunity from prosecution would be required to pay back all their ill-gotten gains. Degnan, nevertheless, defended the program, saying that the $2.25 million that the state did get back was more than his office had ever been able to recover.

Degnan this week said that the rogue staffer was removed from his position but would not name him or say whether he had been fired.

Degnan’s office on Tuesday confirmed that Poulos had been fired Dec. 12 but would not explain why, describing it as a “discontinuation of an unclassified appointment” of an at-will hire.

Poulos did not return several calls and emails requesting comment Tuesday.

In an email obtained by the Ocean County Politics website, Poulos last year defended the investigation — dubbed Operation Blue Claw.

From the time the arrests started in June until the end of September, the number of Medicaid recipients in Ocean County has decreased by 2,565,” he said in the October 2017 email to officials in the FBI, Justice Department, Social Security Administration, the State Treasury and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

“In a year-to-year comparison of Ocean County numbers, a consistent drop in the number of recipients has not occurred like this. With 2,565 less recipients in the program, it is an annual cost savings of approximately $12 million,” he wrote.

“Add in the impact of the criminal cases and the voluntary disclosure program that are ongoing, the operation has had an incredible impact, despite what the media prints. You should be extremely proud of the work you and your teams put into the operation.”

Two months later, Poulos would be gone.

In a report released Friday, Degnan said he learned of the deals three days before the Dec. 12 deadline.

His report was released a day after the Asbury Park Press revealed that a Lakewood school board member was among those granted amnesty and who paid back just half of what he owed despite having purchased a $500,000 home.

Documents obtained this year by Ocean County Politics revealed that the investigation into the pervasive welfare fraud in Lakewood began in 2015. The probe by the Comptroller’s Office, which is tasked with investigating Medicaid fraud, involved reviewing private school tuition and bank accounts of dozens of families. Investigators said that the average income reported by these families was just over $27,300 even though their actual income was, on average, more than $94,000.

Last year, county and federal authorities charged 26 township residents with cheating multiple public assistance programs out of more than $2 million.

ot long after the arrests, the Comptroller’s Office announced the Ocean County Recipient Voluntary Disclosure Program, which allowed residents in the county to self-report their accidental or intentional applications for government assistance that they were not entitled to. In exchange for not facing criminal charges, the applicants were supposed to repay what they took and stay off Medicaid for a year.

The program was criticized by people who felt that authorities were coddling lawbreakers and showing special favor to Lakewood’s predominant Orthodox Jewish community.

The amnesty program was open to anyone who had not already been charged with defrauding Medicaid. Degnan and prosecutors insisted that the program should not be called “amnesty” because the participants could still be prosecuted by state and federal tax authorities.

The program was started on Sept. 12, 2017, and was open for enrollment until Dec. 12, the same day Poulos was fired.

Degnan’s report noted that there were 81 settlements reached as part of the program, which resulted in 159 people being removed from Medicaid and more than $2 million being recovered.

In his report, Degnan admitted there were some “flaws and mistakes” in the program. While he did not name the person, Degnan said one employee in his office had “engaged in negotiations with counsel for applicants that resulted in settlements for less than the full damages amount.”

“This employee circumvented the established application process and safeguards and engaged in direct communication with applicants’ attorneys,” Degnan’s report said. “This conduct was contrary to the published terms of the Program and to my public statements regarding the OCRVDP.”

Degnan’s report does not say that the employee was fired, only that “appropriate steps were taken to end that practice.”

Poulos previously worked for the Army as a civilian commander of the Investigations Division at the former Fort Monmouth. He was stripped of his security clearance in 2011 after the U.S. Marshals Service complained to the Army about him using fake credentials to expose security flaws at military bases and federal courthouses in New Jersey, the Washington Post reported in 2011.

Although his Army superiors heaped praise on his work, the U.S. Marshals, which oversees federal building security, were not pleased, according to the Washington Post.

Last year, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit Poulos filed in 2013 against the New Castle, Delaware, police department, where he had previously worked. Poulos said New Castle police officials released his confidential employee files to federal investigators.

Poulos resigned from New Castle in 2003 after facing two internal investigations, his lawsuit said. The lawsuit said New Castle officials told federal agents that one of the investigations was for lying about a suspect trying to run him over with a vehicle. Poulos, however, said the investigation did not sustain any misconduct charges against him.

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Former Vizhnitz Chasid and Years of Abuse – To be Silent is to be Complicit!!

 

[VIDEO] A FORMER VIZHNITZ CHASID DESCRIBES A DECADE OF ABUSE

25-year-old Avrumi Kroiser grew up in the Vizhnitz Chasidic community in Bnei Brak. Beginning from the age of 11, Avrumi was sexually abused regularly by several different people. Despite talking to several adults including his parents and the community’s Admor, no steps were taken to help prevent the abuse. He was simply told that if he “did Tshuvah”, the abuse would stop. After becoming a father himself, Avrumi finally left the community. Avrumi was interviewed for Kaan’s new program “We’re Not Silent”:

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“When you’re in bed at night and suddenly woken by another person touching you, you are startled by the cold, painful contact. You can wake up, open your eyes, scream and shout. But you know that if you shout, the shame will belong to you. Everyone will know what happened to you. And when you go to shul the next morning, the person who hurt you will still be there.

“I was abused for the first time when I was 11. It was Purim. A young man around 20 years old invited me to go to the Yeshiva with him to watch rehearsals of the performance that was planned for the Admor. When I arrived, it was dark and empty, except for him. That’s when he abused me.

“At some point, I just ran away. I couldn’t even muster up a “Don’t touch me!”, I just said that I had to leave and ran. I told a few others about what had happened, and they encouraged me to tell my parents. When I told them, my mother broke down in tears. My father promised he would do something, but despite appealing to authorities in the community, nothing happened. I had to carry the shame with me every day, and my abuser was completely unaffected. So the next time I was abused, I kept it to myself.

“I stayed in the same community, the same institutions, the same places where I was being abused. It could happen while everyone was crowded around the Admor’s table, and someone would put their hand where it didn’t belong. It happened many times at the Mikvah, where everyone is walking around unclothed, but nobody sees what’s happening under the water. The Mikvah was a particularly bad place. There’s so many people, noise, water, and nobody is really watching anybody else because that would be immodest. Abusers take advantage of the chaos, putting their hands where they don’t belong. I was abused there many times.

“The people who are supposed to protect you blame you instead. You tell them about what’s happening to you, who’s touching you, how you can’t sleep at night without finding him right beside you when you wake up. But they just tell you to do Teshuvah and go to the Mikvah, and then it won’t happen anymore.

“As the years went by, I collected more and more abusers, who were always around me. If I saw them on the street, I would cross to the other side. I became introverted. I was afraid of socializing in the community. I didn’t want to be there anymore. But I was a child, I had nowhere to run to. So I stayed, in those same places where I was abused again and again. I carried so much shame, put on my shoulders by my parents, my friends, my community, for ever having dared to speak out. So I was silent. I knew I would continue to be abused routinely, and I was. I felt dirty and delegitimized. I lost my sense of right and wrong. It was a warped version of reality. This is a place with no mature sexuality, so all sexuality becomes distorted. When you see these abusers being promoted to important roles in the community, you get the message loud and clear: Don’t complain. This is normal, this is just part of your life.

“When I was 20, I got married. The abuse continued. Then I had a child. I realized that I had brought an innocent life into this horrible place, that it wasn’t a matter of if it would happen to him, but when, and I nothing was going to stop me from protecting my child. I went to the Admor and begged him to do something about the abusers in the community. I thought he would be sympathetic to my cause, that he would heed my call to action. He told me to go to the Mikvah every day. When I told him why I hated the Mikvah, what had happened to me at the Mikvah, he told me to just take care of it quickly and to ignore what was happening.

“I realized that I had to do something to protect my child. I also realized that I couldn’t stay in the community anymore. Since getting a divorce and leaving the community, I have done all that I can to speak out, to expose abusers, and to encourage survivors to speak out as well. Even if nobody listens to you, or if people are angry at you, don’t give in. This isn’t supposed to be happening to you, this isn’t ok. Stand your ground.”

 

#MeToo, Sexual Assault and Abuse, Women are Not Safer (because of Orthodox Judaism’s Rules for Sex)

We are reposting this Letter to the Editor response in its entirety and without permission of the author. Our posting while representing our support of the author’s views, should not be deemed to imply that she supports ours, this blog or anything we post.

 

No, Rabbi, Orthodox Women Are Not Safer

A response to Rabbi Avi Shafran’s claims that Jewish law protects orthodox women from sexual abuse

The following is a response to Rabbi Avi Shafran’s article from last week, “A Safer Space for Women in Orthodox Judaism’s Rules for Sex.”

Dear Rabbi Shafran,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a woman. I am Orthodox. I went through the Bais Yakkov system. I am a mother of three young girls who are also being raised Orthodox and attending Yeshiva day schools. I have never been seriously physically assaulted, and I am thankful every day for that. I also think daily, of the possibility of physical assault – I think about that vulnerability in both secular and religious settings alike. I have, however, been too many times verbally assaulted and made an object for a man to remark on; demeaned and degraded because of my sex. Many of these instances took place in frum environments, by observant males. This is why I was outraged by the outlandish claims made in your recent article where you attempted to prove that gender halachot protects orthodox women from sexual assault and harassment, and, instead, only further confirmed that “#metoo” is very much a relevant and integral discussion within the Orthodox community. Because if religious male leaders can write an essay such as yours, and have a forum to publish it, and an audience who will regard it as valuable spiritual insight, well then, my daughters and I, and every Orthodox woman I know are in big trouble.

Yes, we have halachot and Jewish religious observances in place to guide us in sexual activity and healthy, respectful interactions between members of the opposite sex. But to claim that these halachot actually guard women from assault, to claim that we are less assaulted than secular women, is to silence Orthodox women, to perpetuate abuse and to hide and shelter Orthodox abusers.  In your article you claim that: “…sexual abuse happens in the Orthodox community….but is relatively rare…” but that is a baseless and dangerous statement. Do you have statistics to support that? I suspect you don’t, and I bet even if you did they would be skewed because chas v’shalom (G-d forbid) we ever out an Orthodox abuser. The halachik ramifications of mesira (reporting a fellow Jew to secular authorities), chillul Hashem (embarrassing Jews) and lashon hara (gossip) are constantly put before the safety of our community’s victims, thus sustaining the shameful practice of the Orthodox to protect abusive men over vulnerable women and children.

A 2007 study done in The American Journal of Psychiatry reported that 26% of its Orthodox female study participants experienced sexual abuse within the community and that more ultra-Orthodox women reported abuse than modern Orthodox women. These are dizzying statistics, surely not “a rare occurrence” as your essay claims. My head swims with the women I know personally and anonymously who have suffered physically at the hands of men; men in our community; rabbis, teachers, neighbors, family, friends. According to The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 51.1% of female victims are raped by an intimate partner or acquaintance, which would mean it is our men raping and assaulting our women. (And we aren’t even touching on the agunah problem – a halachah that is manipulated by too many men drunk on the abuse of power over women.) When women have been brave enough to voice their abuse, they are bullied, silenced and threatened again by our male leaders, rabbis who dismiss abuse, rabbis who protect abusers or shuffle them from community to community creating new victims. There is a reason why our community has few statistics on rape and sexual assault—it is because our community bullies the victims into fearful silence. In 2018, a study was conducted by Orthodox researchers, Dr. Rosmarin and Dr. Pelcovitz, which was published in The Child Abuse and Neglect Journal, stating that those who left the Orthodox community are more than four times as likely to have been molested as children than the general population. According to the study, those victims that left our community were more likely to have reported the abuse than those who remained. The obvious conclusion is that our community members are afraid to speak out. A reluctance to report sexual abuse cannot and should not be confused with a lack of abuse. Orthodox women who are observing the very laws, which you claim protect them, are assaulted by their own husbands and are suffering silently rather than take the risk of speaking with their rabbis. They suffer in fear because the Orthodox community has long sustained an archaic belief that we are not susceptible to the same abuse as the secular community — and it is articles like yours that sustain this belief. But let me tell you, as an Orthodox woman, I feel threatened by your beliefs and claims.

There is a reason that organizations such as SOVRI (Support for Orthodox Victims of Rape and Incest), and Jewish Community Watch exist — because abuse is as rampant in our community as it is in any other. And we need more organizations and leaders to speak out against sexual abuse, not leaders who pretend we don’t have a real and terrifying problem. We need to eradicate this harmful way of thinking—that halacha trumps the wellbeing of living women and children. We cannot hide behind a false illusion of safety built on the shaky foundation that Torah observers are not susceptible to perpetrating evil.

I beg of you to reconsider your thoughts on the sexual safety of women in our community. I for one resent my voice of safety and sexual integrity being publicly represented by a male Orthodox Rabbi who appears to have no experience with sexual assault victims or mentality and offered no statistical or supportive research for his claims. You wrote that we can’t expect men to respect female performers who dress a certain way — this is victim blaming and harmful misogynistic thinking. It is delusional to believe that the halachot of modesty and yichud can combat abuse and you would know that if you would just ask us—we frum women can tell you. In fact, leave it to us, allow us to speak out on whether or not we feel these halachot have any power to protect us, because you do not represent me. And I want you and everyone else to know that. That you do not represent the female voice of Orthodox women.

You say #metoo should serve a higher purpose than just shaming the guilty but you are missing the entire female stance on abuse if you think all we are trying to accomplish is shame. We are trying to protect ourselves and eradicate sexual abuse and harassment and the harmful kind of rhetoric such as yours that encourages blindness to abuse in our frum communities. I kindly request that you allow us the dignity and right to do that.

Respectfully,

Talya

 

NY State Dept. of Health Warns of Measles Exposure in Rockland County, NY

MEASLES IN NEW YORK STATE – SHOULD THOSE VACCINATED BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T?

A measles outbreak has it New York State putting both religious and non-religious at risk. It has been linked to International travelers, traveling between Israel and the United States. Israel has a strict policy regarding vaccinating children. With socialized medicine largely the norm, there is a requirement before attending school that children be vaccinated and their regimen is stricter than that of the United States. They include vaccinations that we do not have on our protocols. But within the ultra-Orthodox communities, both in Israel and the United States, the requirements for entering schools (religious Yeshivas) is different. Likely – the policy of vaccinations is not enforced.

But if you take this to its logical conclusion, what’s next? A Polio Outbreak? Or… Whooping cough… or any number of other possible diseases that are preventable.

LostMessiah is well aware that there is a movement of people who do not believe in vaccinating their children either because of the dangers of Autism, or other disorders allegedly associated with vaccines. While we may not agree, we are not having that debate.

But, a vaccine only works if a statistical percentage of people within a community are vaccinated. Therefore, for each one person that does not vaccinate, a statistical number of people must be willing to “sacrifice” their kids for the better good. Otherwise, no one is safe. In other words, people who choose to not vaccinate are relying on those who choose to vaccinate to keep their own children safe. That is the problem, whether by conscientious objector or ignorance we find not vaccinating children to be reprehensible. A parent choosing not to vaccinate his or her child is forcing that obligation on others to keep everyone safe. We have a problem with that.

Within the ultra-Orthodox community, failure to vaccinate appears to be borne of ignorance not some fundamental ideological belief against vaccinations and the policy of enforcing vaccinations by State guidelines is largely ingored in the yeshiva system. Moreover, when the problem needs to be resolved, those uneducated must rely on those educated and outside of their community to control the damage. If you are not going to educate yourselves and your children and teach the importance of vaccinations, we almost think you should shut your gates, quarantine your residents and figure out how to fix the problem yourselves, without State financial assistance and without state intervention.

 

New York State Department of Health Warns More Potential New Measles Exposures in Rockland County

New Cases Linked to International Travelers

State Working with County and Community to Identify Potential Exposures, Provide Vaccine, Prevent Further Spread

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 16, 2018) – The New York State Department of Health today announced that additional measles cases linked to international travelers returning from Israel have been confirmed in Rockland County.

Like many European countries and parts of the world, Israel is currently experiencing a high number of measles cases. In the most recent data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO), 339 cases have been reported in Israel from March through August of 2018.

To help prevent secondary cases of measles, the state Department of Health is working with the Rockland County Department of Health and Refuah Health Center to identify those potentially exposed and provide information on the importance of vaccination.

A measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine clinic for those who are not immune to measles will be held on Thursday, October 18, from 4:30 p.m. 6:30 at the Community Outreach Center located 21 Remsen Avenue in Monsey.

In addition to supporting the county by providing MMR vaccine, the state Department of Health is testing samples at its Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany, and assisting with community outreach and contact investigations. This includes working with the Rockland County Department of Health to identify unvaccinated students at any impacted schools, and taking the appropriate actions to minimize the risk to other students.

For those who believe they may have been exposed and have further questions, a toll-free hotline has been established: 1-888-364-4837. The hotline is available Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Individuals are considered protected or immune to measles if they were born before 1957, have received two doses of MMR vaccine, have had measles, or have a laboratory test result confirming immunity. Individuals who are not immune to measles and were exposed are at risk for developing measles. Preventive treatment for measles is recommended for those without evidence of immunity as follows: MMR vaccine can be given to eligible exposed individuals within 72 hours of exposure OR immune globulin can be administered within 6 days of exposure.

All individuals who think they may have been exposed to measles, particularly those without immunity or who are not sure if they have been vaccinated, should contact their health care provider if they develop measles symptoms. Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or runny nose. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure.

To prevent the spread of illness, the Department is advising individuals who may have been exposed and who have symptoms consistent with measles to contact their health care provider, a local clinic, or a local emergency department before going for care. This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. People first develop a fever, then may have a cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by appearance of a rash. People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash.

The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. Individuals should receive two doses of MMR vaccine to be fully protected. If a person is unsure if they are immune they should contact their healthcare provider. Typically, the first dose of MMR vaccine should be given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose should be given at four to six years of age (age of school entry), although individuals may also be vaccinated later in life. In New York State, measles immunization is required of children enrolled in schools, daycare, and pre-kindergarten. Since August 1990, college students have also been required to demonstrate immunity against measles.

More information about measles can be found at https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2170.pdf.

Kestenbaum v. Globus – GoFundMe Account – Fight the Attack on Free Speech, Free Press, Privacy and the Right To be Anonymous

gf.me/u/mvgfpb

We are working on our Twitter Account.

 

To the readers of this blog:

I would like to thank you for your encouragement, your support and for getting in touch with words of  praise. Someone mentioned to me that with over 1200 articles covering world events, we have been asked (politely) to remove or fix an article or opinion, which may have better odds than many major news organizations. I hadn’t considered that as I pondered the future of the site.

Over the next week, we will be focusing on a number of stories:

  1. Property issues in the New York area
  2. Nobel-Delek and the Leviathan well deal
  3. Sentosa Care and the Current Lawsuit pending in Kings County
  4. 199 Lee Avenue and a number of other related topics.

Anyone with any information should kindly send to findinglostmessiah@gmail.com

Anyone with a topic of interest that you would like to see covered, please send along.

This is and continues to be a collaborative effort. We really cannot thank you enough.

 

 

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Free Speech, LostMessiah and JG

Lost Messiah and Kestenbaum, et.al. v. Globus – Using the Judicial System to Chill Free Speech

Louis Kestenbaum, Joel Kestenbaum and Fortis Property Group v. Julie Globus – Using the Courts to Chill Free Speech

Hello. I am the person behind LostMessiah. My name is Julie Globus.

I am an attorney, a triathlete, a mom, a writer, a journalist, a blogger, a fraud investigator, a wife, a friend, an activist and someone for whom integrity is, full stop – a line in the sand that I will not cross. I am also the Defendant in a lawsuit intended to chill free speech.

On Saturday, August 25, 2018 I was served with a lawsuit claiming alleged defamation against Louis Kestenbaum, Joel Kestenbaum and Fortis Property Group, LLC. The Plaintiffs are represented by Anthony Genovesi, Esq. of Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Farrara, Wolf & Carone LLP.   The Index Number of the Case is 516803/2018, received on August 17, 2018.

As a human being I am far from perfect. I am flawed. Like many others, I am human and fallible. But I am through, accurate, honest and passionate and believe in the difference between right and wrong, ethical and unethical, moral and immoral and I hold myself to standards that sometimes I cannot attain. I am my own worst critic. But I have taken stock in knowing that anytime I have been contacted, through the gmail address (findinglostmessiah@gmail.com) by someone demonstrating that I had offended either their sensibilities or erred in an article, I either corrected or removed. My integrity depends upon it and sometimes the battle is not worth fighting.

On August 7, 2018, the first time I knew that my identity had been breached, and the first time I heard anything from the Plaintiff’s, Plaintiff’s attorney Mr. Genovesi contacted me at my office demanding that I remove an allegedly offending article. Without debating the article or its contents, I took it down – in good faith. Why? At the time my anonymity was important, and I expected that would be the end of the story. 

When I asked Mr. Genovesi how he found me, he told me quite simply “Google.” He was disingenuous, to say the least. I had not intended to start posting. I assumed that he had “Googled” my name. 

If you “Google” my name in full, you will find accusations that I am a murderer, accusations placed online in the early days of this blog when there were many people trying to uncover the identity of the blogger and sully my name, both because I was writing publicly on Rockland County based websites and because of this site. Someone took the time to painstakingly go through everything I have ever written to make an affirmative identification. I give him or her credit, not only for the analysis but for being a driving force behind various changes I made to my writing style in the time since. I am not a murderer, though the genesis of those comments do elicit some interesting discussions when I meet new clients who do thorough research. It would be nice if those comments were removed from the internet; but I have no intention of bullying someone or suing them into compelling removal.

I take great pride in LostMessiah. It cannot be pride of ownership or authorship because, as I have said on many pages contained on this site, this has been a great collaboration. I take pride in the nearly 1.6 Million views the site has achieved in two and one/half years and in the nearly 800K unique visitors to the site, a number that is constantly growing. I value the worldwide audience, our readership. I am glad we are reaching you. I am amazed by the site’s ability to join people together toward a common good, making the world a better place for all who live in it.  I am humbled, to no end, by the contributions, the comments, and the perseverance of those who have kept in touch. I am a far better person for it and for you.

I am a Jew, something that runs through my veins, both culturally and to some extent religiously. I was raised in a secular home, lighting candles on Shabbat not because it was a religious expectation but a cultural one. I grew up listening to conversations in Yiddish, and speaking to some small degree, because it was the common language of all of my grandparents. I attended the Yiddish Culture Congress meetings as a child and I heard the great Elie Wiesel (z”l) speak in Yiddish. I was introduced as the grand-daughter, the great-niece and niece of Yiddish professors and writers. I was introduced as family of some of the early founders of the Jewish Forward and Jewish Standard, though I am not exactly sure what the correct names were at the time. Writing and the ability to express oneself has been an integral part of my upbringing and I believe that I am obligated as a Jew and as a person, to use it in my professional and personal life to leave the world better having me walk it. 

Religiously I identify most closely with the Conservative community, though I do travel on Shabbat, I don’t keep a Kosher home and I will eat in non-Kosher restaurants. I spent several months identifying with the ultra-Orthodox community during that period when, as young adults we are finding ourselves. I discovered within that community a great beauty. People were inviting and kind. They showed love and compassion. I was welcomed into families as one of their own. I spent holidays within the different communities. That was a lifetime ago.

My decision to leave the community was borne of the darkness that I saw at the time. I was called a non-Jew by someone who had invited me for Shabbat because I grew up not observant. I was told that I was dirty because I wore skirts just below the knee and showed my ankles. I was called a whore because I wore open-toed sandals and stones were thrown at me in a Mea Shearim neighborhood because I was not wearing a high necked shirt on a sweltering day. I have seen far greater darkness since, much of it the impetus for this site.  

My defense is being led by New York First Amendment and media attorney, Henry R. Kaufman. Mr. Kaufman has been active in this field for more than 40 years. He served as Vice President and General Counsel of the Association of American Publishers. Later he was one of the co-founders, and served for 16 years as General Counsel, of the Libel Defense Resource Center (now known as the Media Law Resource Center), a national coalition of almost every major US media company, journalism organizations and journalists and of attorneys in all 50 states specializing in defamation and media defense issues. Since 2000, Mr. Kaufman has been the head of his own boutique firm, again specializing in defamation, First Amendment and other media and intellectual property issues and litigation.

Mr. Kaufman has agreed, in light of my lack of liquid resources, to reduce his normal commercial litigation rates by one third, from $750/hour to $500/hour. If you would like to assist, both in paying for the litigation, any necessary security for my safety, and, if there is money remaining to build LostMessiah into something bigger, more insightful and staffed, please send checks to Henry R. Kaufman, attorney escrow account, for friends of LostMessiah or in Defendant’s name “Julie Globus.” They can be sent to 60 East 42nd Street 47th Floor, New York, NY 10165. GoFundMe information will follow.

Shavuah Tov.

 

Suppression of Free Speech and Press – By Murder or Lawsuit?

Free Speech Should Not Be Allowed to Die, Neither by Murder nor by Lawsuit, A Segue into the Death of Seven Journalists

A funny thing happened in August. After months of not blogging, we got back in the saddle and started posting articles again. Why? Because journalistic integrity came into question. We were threatened and that has to mean something. 
Despite being asked to remove an article and doing so, one of two that had been published in 2016, LostMessiah’s name, along with that of an online blogger, was unceremoniously dragged into a lawsuit. The subject of the lawsuit? Hard to tell. It appears to be the remaining article.
The blogger had facilitated the takedown in good faith at the request of the attorneys representing the subjects of that blog. Why? Because, well… there seemed to be more important fish to fry and a single article’s removal at the behest of an allegedly prominent family did not seem like it was worth a fight. If we took it down, however disheartening that would be, the situation would be resolved. Who really has the time? Or the money?  
It didn’t go away. It might have been worth the fight on that day in August.
To resurrect what would otherwise be a problem with the Statute of Limitations, (one year from date of publication in New York) the Complaint in the lawsuit appears to allege that the subject article was taken down by WordPress and that the alleged blogger republished. It was neither taken down by WordPress, nor was it then republished by LostMessiah. The complaint also alleges, both unequivocally and incorrectly we must add, that the blogger is LostMessiah AND another website, WebActivism.
Anonymity in this space, blogging about oligarchs and diamond dealers, Congo miners and allegedly corrupt police officers can be a dangerous thing. We valued and continue to value our anonymity for that reason. Our absence worried our readers. To our readers, it was borne of time constraints not of safety, fear or reprisals nor payment. We will be asking for financial assistance from our readers. For that we apologize in advance.

Continue reading

The Leviathan of a Natural Gas Deal and the Potential for Ignoble Use

A LEVIATHAN OF A DEAL, NOT-SO-NOBLE, AS WE SEE IT WITH POTENTIAL FOR FINANCIAL, POLITICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ABUSE…

Rebublished from http://www.bridgesforpeace.com

Note to reader: This article is being directly republished from the above-referenced site. We have kept a PDF which you can obtain on the same site or contact us. We do not presume any endorsement by the site nor are we publishing “with permission” so if asked to remove,  we will oblige.

While we see a “bridge for peace” with this pipeline we also see a huge opportunity for Israel’s citizens to be financially harmed by deals that involve large conglomerates of businesses and investors (Noble-Delek). We see the potential for a natural gas monopoly, the direct road to corruption (not uncommon in Israel’s already precariously balanced political regime) and the potential for all citizens to whom natural gas is supplied by this deal (whether Israeli, Egyptian or otherwise) to be held hostage to the financial whims of the interested investors.

And, we are particularly focused on trying to figure out exactly who are the interested investors. Despite claims of transparency, the dots are not easy to follow, and they should be.

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Israel’s Delek, Partners Buy Stake in Egyptian Gas Pipeline for $518 Million

 

Thursday, 4 October 2018 | Delek, the Israeli energy giant, and its partners have announced that they will buy the EMG Egypt-Israel gas pipeline for [US] $518 million, Globes reported.

Delek and the American company Noble Energy will each pay $158 million for the pipeline. The balance will be paid by the Egyptian company East. The deal will allow Delek and Noble to lease and operate the pipeline, which extends from Ashkelon in Israel to El Arish in the Sinai.

The pipeline will allow Delek and Noble to provide the 64 billion cubic meters [17 trillion gallons] of natural gas to Egypt, which the companies sold to Egypt’s Dolphinus Holding Ltd. for $15 billion in a deal concluded in February of this year.

Delek and Noble are slated to provide Egypt with natural gas from the Leviathan natural gas field starting next year. In the meantime, they will sell gas from the Tamar field.

“The Leviathan field is becoming the central energy anchor in the Mediterranean basin with customers in Israel, Egypt and Jordan,” Delek drilling CEO Yossi Abu said.

“Today’s announcements mark significant steps forward in supplying natural gas from the world-class Tamar and Leviathan fields to regional customers through existing infrastructure. They also represent another major milestone toward Egypt’s goal to become a regional energy hub, providing access to both growing domestic markets and existing LNG [liquid natural gas] export facilities,” Keith Elliott, a senior vice-president with Noble Energy said. “With these agreements, we are securing the capacity to deliver on our firm gas sales agreement with Dolphinus for Leviathan while also allowing for interruptible sales from Tamar into Egypt. This further solidifies the strong cash flow growth anticipated from our Eastern Mediterranean assets.”

The discovery of natural gas fields in the Mediterranean has positioned Israel as an energy exporter and boosted its diplomatic standing in the region.

The discovery of the Tamar and Leviathan fields has also led to closer diplomatic cooperation between Israel and both Greece and Cyprus. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met four times with Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras in the past three years. Cooperation in exporting natural gas has been one of the major topics of their discussions.

Late last year, the three countries reached an agreement to supply natural gas to the European Union.

Posted on October 4, 2018

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on September 28, 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

 

 

 

Delek, Noble, Tamar, Leviathan, Dolphinus – Who’s Gas is this Anyway?

Delek, Noble sign accords for $15b in sales of Israeli natural gas to Egypt

Partners in the offshore Tamar and Leviathan fields ink deals with Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings Ltd. for the sale of some 64 billion cubic meters over coming decade

 

Illustrative photo of a natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

 

The partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields, including a unit of US Noble Energy Inc and Delek Drilling LP, have signed $15 billion in deals to export natural gas to Egypt over 10 years.

In a filing to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Monday, Delek Drilling LP, a partner in the Tamar and Leviathan fields offshore Israel, said Noble Energy Mediterranean and its partners in the fields have signed accords with Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings Ltd. for the sale of some 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the two fields.

One accord calls for the sale of 3.5 BCM of natural gas annually from the Leviathan field, for a total of 32 BCM, the filing said, with the partners estimating the total revenues from the sale from the Leviathan field to reach $7.5 billion.

In addition, the partners said they signed an additional accord for the sale of natural gas from the Tamar field, for a total of 32 BCM and some $7.5 billion.

Delek said the partners were considering various options for the supply of the gas to Egypt, including via a Jordanian-Israeli pipeline that is currently being built or the use of the existing East Mediterranean Gas pipeline. Delek Drilling and Noble plan to start negotiations with EMG for the use of the pipeline to Egypt, the companies said in a separate, emailed statement.

Another option is to transport the gas to Egypt by connecting the Israeli transmission system to its Egyptian counterpart, the statement said.

Supply from Tamar will start as soon as the infrastructure for its transport is in place, the companies said, while that from Leviathan will start as soon as production starts from the well. Supply will continue until the amounts agreed upon are supplied or until December 2030, whichever comes first, the companies said.

…..

“We are at an important milestone on the road to realizing our collective vision and dream of making Israel a significant exporter of gas to countries in the region,” said Yitzhak Tshuva, the controlling shareholder of Delek Group, which controls Delek Drilling. “The agreement will strengthen the relationships between Israel and its neighbors and increase economic cooperation between them.”

Dolphinus is a natural gas trade company which is planning to supply gas to large industrial and commercial consumers in Egypt.

Noble Energy holds 39.66 percent of Leviathan and a 32.5% stake in Tamar. Delek Drilling holds 45.34% stake in Leviathan and 22% stake in Tamar. Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) Ltd. Partnership holds a 15% stake in Leviathan. Isramco Negev 2 LP holds a 28.75% stake in Tamar.

To continue reading click here.

 

Delek-Noble Energy – Israel, A Leviathan of a Profiteering Venture…

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Delek-Noble Energy announces $500m deal to allow Israeli gas exports to Egypt

US-Israeli consortium and Egyptian gas company buy 39% of disused underwater gas pipeline connecting Ashkelon to northern Sinai

 

A US-Israeli consortium leading the development of Israel’s offshore gas reserves announced Thursday a deal that would enable the export of natural gas to Egypt.

Noble Energy and its Israeli partner Delek, along with Egyptian East Gas Company, bought 39 percent of a disused pipeline connecting the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon with the north Sinai.

The consortium paid $518 million for the interest in the East Mediterranean Gas Company pipeline.

The mainly undersea pipeline will be used to transport natural gas from the Tamar and Leviathan reservoirs to Egypt from as early as 2019, allowing a 10-year $15 billion deal signed in February with Egypt’s Dolphinus to move forward, Delek said in a statement.

It will be the first time Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, imports gas from its neighbor.

Israel had bought gas from Egypt but land sections of the pipeline were repeatedly targeted by Sinai jihadists in 2011 and 2012, and soaring demand meant Egypt could use the gas domestically.

Israel had bought gas from Egypt but land sections of the pipeline were repeatedly targeted by Sinai jihadists in 2011 and 2012, and soaring demand meant Egypt could use the gas domestically.

Delek CEO Yossi Abu called the pipeline purchase “the most significant milestone for the Israeli gas market since the discoveries” of the reservoirs.

“The Leviathan reservoir is becoming the Mediterranean basin’s primary energy anchor, with customers in Israel, Egypt and Jordan,” he said.

In September 2016, Jordan struck a deal to buy 300 million cubic feet (8.5 million cubic meters) of Israeli gas per day over 15 years, an agreement estimated to be worth $10 billion.

Israel has limited natural resources but in the past few years it has discovered major gas fields off its coast and is building the infrastructure needed to tap them.

Tamar, which began production in 2013, has estimated reserves of up to 238 billion cubic meters (8.4 trillion cubic feet).

Leviathan, discovered in 2010 and set to begin production in 2019, is estimated to hold 535 billion cubic meters (18.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas, along with 34.1 million barrels of condensate.

Israel hopes its gas reserves will give the country energy independence and the prospect of becoming a supplier for Europe as well as forging strategic ties within the region.

To continue reading click, here.

 

Leviev, LLD Diamonds, Africa Israel and a Name Withheld

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The son of Israeli billionaire diamond magnate Lev Leviev is among suspects arrested in Israel in connection with a diamond smuggling scheme, according to court documents released on Tuesday.

The case focuses on Leviev’s company, LLD Diamonds, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of polished diamonds, Police have said they expect to make more arrests, both in Israel and abroad.

Leviev’s son Zevulun is among six suspects accused of involvement in a smuggling operation that has brought about 300 million shekels’ ($80 million) worth of diamonds illegally into Israel since 2010, according to a transcript of a custody hearing held on Monday.

Israel is a world centre for diamond cutting and polishing, with one of the biggest exchanges in the world, at Ramat Gan.

Lawyers representing Zevulun Leviev in a statement said the allegations against him were “baseless” and his arrest appeared to be a tactic to “illegitimately pressure his father”.

Lev Leviev, who was born in Uzbekistan and according to the court documents is currently believed to be in Russia, built his fortune in diamonds and property.

LLD said in a statement it had no knowledge of the alleged smuggling.

“Mr. Leviev and the companies in his control operate in accordance with the proper norms while adhering to the law. We hope that the matter will be clarified soon and the suspicions will be proven baseless,” it said.

Leviev also owns 48 percent of the real estate firm Africa Israel Investments , once one of Israel’s biggest conglomerates, whose business has struggled since a downturn in the Russian real estate market. ($1 = 3.6847 shekels)

A Gem of a Damning Email…. or delete…

lev leviev

Suspected Head of Diamond-smuggling Ring ‘Had His Son Delete Damning Emails,’ Police Say

The investigation into Lev Leviev’s company LLD began in March, when two diamond smugglers were arrested at Ben-Gurion International Airport. The questioning of the two led investigators to their employer

Lev Leviev instructed his son Zevulon Leviev to delete emails that could incriminate him, police and tax officials told a court at the son’s detention hearing Tuesday.

Leviev’s companies are allegedly at the center of a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years.

Zevulon was freed to house arrest, as was Reuven Shmuelov, another employee of Leviev’s company LLD, after posting bond of tens of thousands of shekels.

“There has been a significant development in the investigation; we discovered instructions by the father to destroy evidence, and [Zevulon Leviev] carried this out,” Tax Authority representative Ofir Hayut said at the hearing, adding that this included emails.

LLD asked the court Wednesday to release bank accounts that were frozen around 10 days ago. The accounts, two at Israel Discount Bank and two at Union Bank of Israel, are used for company operations. LLD said it did not seek access to the money in the accounts, only to be able to continue doing business.

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