‘This has taken such a toll on our lives, and these are people who are playing with our lives,’ three sisters tell Haaretz after 47th hearing to see if headmistress Malka Leifer can face extradition to Australia on 74 counts of sex abuse
Ellie Sapper, left, Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer outside Jerusalem District Court, March 6, 2019
Dassi Erlich woke up at 3:30 A.M. at her home in Melbourne on February 15 to what she says were hundreds of text messages alerting her to the news that had broken nearly 14,000 kilometers (8,500 miles) away in Israel: That an Israeli deputy health minister was under investigation for allegedly trying to prevent the extradition of the Australian school principal suspected of sexually abusing her and other girls when they were students at her all-girls ultra-Orthodox school.
It took six days for the media storm to die down, but when it did the rage set in for Erlich and two of her sisters, Nicole Meyer and Ellie Sapper. They are all fellow accusers of Malka Leifer, a dual Israeli-Australian citizen who faces 74 counts of child sex abuse in Australia.
Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 after accusations against her surfaced, and is fighting extradition on the grounds that she is mentally unfit.
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has been questioned by the police, who suspect he pressured Jerusalem’s district psychiatrist into writing a false assessment describing Leifer as mentally unfit, which, according to Israeli law, would mean she could not be extradited.
“It wasn’t a shock to us. We had all these questions and we knew something was up, but it was more than a disappointment. We were angry and frustrated and [thinking]: How could this have been allowed to happen? This has taken such a toll on our lives, and these are people who are playing with our lives,” Erlich told Haaretz in an interview at Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday. The interview took place after the 47th hearing into Leifer’s extradition since legal proceedings began over a decade ago.
Nicole Meyer, Erlich’s older sister, said they were not shocked “because we understand how that world works,” referring to the closed community of the Ultra-Orthodox to which Litzman also belongs. She herself remains ultra-Orthodox, but her sisters are not. “They are protecting their own,” Meyer said. “It’s very insular and they will do what they can to protect her.”
It’s not about the crime,” Erlich added.
Meyer agreed. And that, she said, “makes it even harder to bear when you think we want to create change in this world, and this kind of thing has happened and we kind of feel defeated in a sense.”
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman on his way to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, November 18, 2018.
Activists say the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel and abroad has generally been slow to respond to allegations of sexual abuse directed at adults within their community, especially allegations lodged against prominent adults including rabbis and teachers. They claim that not unlike the Catholic Church, they have even taken measures to protect the institution over victims from their own community.
Jerusalem – Israel’s Deputy Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman was questioned Thursday at the National Fraud Investigation Unit in Lahav on suspicion of committing offenses of integrity, following a covert investigation that began several months ago.
The investigation is being conducted under the supervision of the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office and with the approval of the attorney-general.
Litzman is suspected of obstructing legal proceedings by working to obtain false papers in order to prevent the extradition of Malka Leifer, an ultra-Orthodox pedophile who was arrested in Israel in February 2018. Victorian police fought to bring Leifer back to Australia to face 74 charges of child sexual abuse.
According to reports, Litzman is suspected of trying to obtain psychiatric medical evaluations psychiatric medical evaluations that would prevent her extradition.
His office said that he was “summoned to the police today for an affair related to a public request for help, and he gave his full testimony and answered all the questions as required.”
But Manny Waks, CEO of Kol V’Oz, said, “We have long suspected high-level interference in the Malka Leifer case, and these serious allegations against Israel’s Deputy Health Minister, Rabbi Ya’acov Litzman, confirms the ongoing suspicion many have regarding this case.”
Waks said that while he would view Litzman as innocent until proven guilty, the minister’s “appalling track record speaks for itself,” noting that Litzman defended a recent visit to convicted sex offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland. He said that the minister likewise informed Leifer’s alleged victims in a chance encounter at the Knesset that he does not support them or Leifer’s extradition
In this July 30, 2008, file photo, Jeffrey Epstein appears in custody in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Uma Sanghvi / AP)
The Justice Department has opened an inquiry into the sweetheart deal that gave multi-millionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein only 13 months in the private wing of Palm Beach County jail.
The inquiry was revealed in a letter released Wednesday from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse.
The Justice Department “has now opened an investigation into allegations that Department attorneys may have committed professional misconduct in the manner in which the Epstein criminal manner was resolved,” Boyd wrote.
Sasse had raised concerns about the Epstein case following a series in the Miami Herald that highlighted the unusually cozy ties between the investor’s legal team and then-Southern Florida U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta.
Acosta now serves as President Trump’s labor secretary.
He signed off on Epstein’s plea deal in 2008 despite evidence of an international sex trafficking operation involving underage girls, the Herald reported.
Epstein, a hedge fund manager with a mansion on the Upper East Side and a private Caribbean island, was once friends with the likes of Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen, among other celebs and business titans.
The disgrace of sexual abusers (nearly entirely men) who identify themselves as Orthodox Jews is a well-known subject, covered extensively in recent decades in the Jewish and general media.
Lesher, an attorney whose specializes in this part of family law, is a longtime community activist on behalf of the victims of sexual abuse. He is an outspoken critic of what he sees as a failing of the Orthodox community he came to as an adult. His book concentrates on one disturbing aspect of the phenomenon – the propensity of Orthodox Judaism’s leaders and rank-and-file members, in the United States and Israel, to defend and support the abusers, at the expense of the victims and the victims’ families.
He writes, as he summarizes in the book’s introduction, about “how influential rabbis and community leaders have sided with the alleged abusers against their victims; how victims and witnesses of sexual abuse have been pressured, even threatened, not to turn to secular law enforcement for help; how autonomous Jewish ‘patrols,’ displacing the role of official police in some large and heavily religious Jewish neighborhoods, have played an inglorious part in the history of cover-ups; … how some Jewish communities have even succeeded in manipulating law enforcement officials to protect suspected abusers.”
This makes for a hard read, a searing indictment of putative religious Jews – from Modern Orthodox Jews to chasidic and the black hat, yeshivish community – who have in effect reintroduced a system of child sacrifice, sacrificing the interests of children (young boys and girls are overwhelmingly the victims of Orthodox Judaism’s sexual abusers) to those of the accused abusers and to the Orthodox community’s perceived image in wider society. According to Lesher, the children and their family members who take steps against abusers are usually regarded as traitors who unfairly harm the lives of the abusers and the abusers’ families; it’s “blame the victim” to an unconscionable degree.
Lesher painstakingly documents case after case of a communal mentality of Shah! What will the goyim think? It’s a mentality that bullies and ostracizes and often silences the victims who dare bring the crimes of Orthodox Jews to the secular criminal justice system and to any type of media. He writes of the indifference and hostility that the victims encounter. He covers the familiar territory of a corrupt beit din (rabbinic court) system and cites the self-serving misuse of Jewish law and of Jewish history to justify Orthodox Jews turning their backs on the victims. He describes, in the words of one chapter’s title, a “culture of denial,” an Orthodox community in which accusations against victims have become orthodox behavior.
Lesher names names – among them, the revered leaders of the Orthodox community – who, he claims, almost without exception help foster a cover-up of sexual abuse committed by ostensibly Orthodox Jews.
“’Cover-up’ is the only appropriate name for the deliberate evasion of a highly topical reality,” he writes. “I must add, sadly, that few in Orthodoxy have broken this code of silence.”
Getting away with reprehensible abuses….. and there are others.
The following articles are being posted from www.corruptionbycops.com . They have reposted a number of our articles over the years for which we are most grateful. In 2016 we outlined a history of 9 of the Shomrim which can be seen on their site by clicking, here.
Please take the time to read and familiarize yourself with that site. It is about time others are speaking up. It might be about time that the police, the DA, the supposedly trustworthy trusted officials and the honest amongst the Satmar and elsewhere finally take back the currently corrupt Satmar-ruled Brooklyn.
Certainly the vote of that bloc can’t really be enough to close our eyes to all of their crimes.
We will be posting several articles under the heading, “Taking Back the Satmar- Ruled Brooklyn.”
An official with an influential neighborhood watch group in Brooklyn has been charged with raping a 16-year-old girl, police said Thursday.
Jacob Daskal, 59, who runs the Shomrim’s Brooklyn South Safety Patrol, a Hasidic neighborhood watch group, abused the girl between August and November of last year, police said.
Daskal was charged with rape and criminal sex act, plus three misdemeanors — forcible touching, sex abuse and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
Jakob Daskal, the head of the Brooklyn South Safety Patrol, leaves court in Brooklyn on Friday after he was arraigned on charges that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl.CreditStephanie Keith for The New York Times
On Wednesday, sex crimes investigators for the New York Police Department received a troubling report: The influential leader of a Brooklyn safety patrol known as the shomrim had been sexually abusing a teenage girl, the police were told.
A day later, detectives arrested the man, Jacob Daskal, a leader of one faction of what has been, since the 1970s, a sort of auxiliary police force for the ultra-Orthodox Jews of Brooklyn’s Borough Park, Crown Heights, Flatbush and Williamsburg neighborhoods.
Mr. Daskal, 59, was charged with statutory rape, sexual abuse and other crimes. The authorities believe the abuse took place at Mr. Daskal’s home between August and November of last year, when the girl, who is now 16, was a year younger. But the inquiry is continuing, to determine if the alleged abuse occurred over a longer period of time or if there were additional victims.
The revelations cast another shadow over a group that has long cultivated relationships with New York’s law enforcement and elected leaders — and that has secured government funding for vehicles, phones and other equipment integral to its brand of security for some of the city’s most insular populations. On several occasions, critics have questioned whether the shomrim’s proximity to authority has fostered vigilantism or corruption.
In May 2016, two men linked to the shomrim of Williamsburg admitted to taking part in the assault of a black man in their neighborhood. A month earlier, Alex Lichtenstein, a former member of Mr. Daskal’s Brooklyn South Safety Patrol, which covers Borough Park, was arrested on federal charges of trying to secure handgun permits by offering the police thousands of dollars in cash bribes.
In the case of Mr. Daskal, 59, he was arrested at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, within the 77th police precinct, the police said. He was then taken to the Brooklyn Special Victims squad, they said.On Friday, the police said that Mr. Daskal had been charged with third-degree rape; third-degree criminal sex act; forcible touching; acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17; and third-degree sexual abuse. He shuffled, handcuffed, into court for arraignment and pleaded not guilty before Judge Deborah Dowling, who issued an order of protection on behalf of his accuser.
Evan Lipton, a lawyer for Mr. Daskal, said his client was prepared to surrender his passport.
Afterward, as Mr. Daskal was released on bail, some supporters surrounded him in a hallway as Mr. Lipton told him, “Your phones have been seized.”
It was not immediately clear what triggered Wednesday’s report to the police.
Around Borough Park, people seemed dazed by the news of the arrest.
“This is the last thing anybody would believe,” said one man, a neighbor, who stood outside Mr. Daskal’s house about noon, watching as a van from the Crime Scene Unit pulled to the curb. Throughout the morning, investigators, some wearing latex gloves, converged on the brick duplex set back from 46th Street as onlookers, including several children, gathered outside.
On those same streets, the shomrim are seen as quick-acting stand-ins for police officers. With their two-way radios and social media links, they have won praise for keeping a watchful eye on the community, chasing down burglars, controlling crowds and locating the missing.
Residents, many of whom are Yiddish-speaking and cling to a culture rooted in preindustrial Europe, trust the shomrim as liaisons to secular authorities, who can negotiate language barriers and complex social mores.
According to state campaign finance records, Mr. Daskal has been a consistent political contributor over the years.
Police officials, too, have embraced the shomrim. It is commonplace for shomrim leaders to attend promotion ceremonies at Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
In 2015, a year before he became police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, then the chief of department, threw out the first pitch at an annual softball game between officers from the 66th Precinct and members of the Borough Park shomrim. Mr. Lichtenstein played in that game, the Greenfield Classic, named for David G. Greenfield, a city councilman who represents the district. In an interview in 2016, however, Mr. Daskal denied that Mr. Lichtenstein’s criminal case involving the gun permits had anything to do with the shomrim.
It is written by Gillian Friedman of Deseret News. This is the first time we have posted from this source and we cannot thank Ms. Friedman enough for contacting us. We are reprinting the first few paragraphs of the story with her permission and that of the Editorial Committee of Deseret News. We emphasize that this should not be deemed an endorsement of LostMessiah by Deseret News. We are fairly certain they don’t know much about us. We do hope that our interest in this story will open a shared dialogue.
This Rabbi’s story, as told in this piece is critical to convincing families and abuse victims to speak up. We implore you to please go to the source material and read the entire piece. It is long. It is heartbreaking. It is courageous. It is also novel in that we have not seen a rabbi speaking out about his own experiences and doing so for the purposes of inspiring others to do the same.
Child sexual abuse within the ultra-Orthodox community is still being swept under the carpet. Rabbis are still denying that it happens; and when it does, are still insisting that it remain within the legal jurisdiction of the beit din (Rabbinical Court) and not under the scrutiny of society at large.
This story and #MeToo makes sexual abuse a public issue. This is a step in the right direction to making others within the Orthodox community follow this courageous lead.
Thank you Rabbi Zippel for your courage. Thank you Gillian Friedman and Deseret News for sharing.
SALT LAKE CITY — From behind the witness stand, Utah Rabbi Avrohom (“Avremi”) Zippel gazes out into the sea of faces and prepares to speak.
It’s a dreary Tuesday morning, and normally, public speaking doesn’t intimidate the 27-year-old. Since he was a child — the precocious and prized eldest son of a prominent rabbi — he has revelled in the attention of a crowd.
But today, sitting in a courtroom in downtown Salt Lake City, the confidence that usually comes so easily evades him.
He fidgets nervously, his fingers playing with his long dark beard, adjusting his black suit and yarmulke, the traditional garb of observant Jewish men.
Time seems to slow to a stop, and all he can hear is the sound of his heart pounding in his ears. But then, one message rings clear in his head, as if from on high: you are doing the right thing.
He clears his throat, and in a voice barely above a whisper, begins to share a story that has haunted him for decades.
In a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Rabbi Zippel testified that Alavina Florreich, 69, sexually abused him for roughly 10 years — from age 8 to 18 — while she was employed as his nanny.
Florreich was arrested March 30, 2018, on suspicion of 131 counts of child abuse. She was charged in 3rd District Court in April 2018 with five counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, and two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, according to charging documents.
Florreich, in interviews taped by police, said she was teaching Rabbi Zippel to be a good husband and that it was “all part of the boy’s curiosity” and it was just him “learning,” according to a police report.
Florreich did not testify at the hearing Tuesday, and her attorneys did not respond to multiple requests from the Deseret News for comment on the case.
Rabbi Zippel said he was inspired to come forward by the #MeToo movement, in particular by Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, who testified in court alongside 156 other women who said that former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar had sexually abused them.
But he is also making history: Rabbi Zippel may be the first Orthodox Jewish rabbi to come out during the #MeToo movement as a survivor of sexual abuse — a topic he said is rarely discussed in the observant Jewish community.
“I think he’s a hero for speaking out,” said Elizabeth Smart, who was in court supporting Rabbi Zippel Tuesday, and who has advised Rabbi Zippel on the case in recent weeks.
“The amount of courage it takes to get up there — I know, I’ve done it — the amount of courage it takes to stand up in that box and talk about what happened openly, I mean it’s terrifying,” she said, “So he’s a hero, and he can become a voice for so many victims who are too scared to speak out.”
What follows is an exclusive account of the story of a man who for years grappled with shame and guilt as a result of his alleged abuse, and who, in part because of his religious beliefs, was convinced he was a “terrible sinner” who was entirely to blame. He hopes that by coming forward, he can become an example not just to his own observant Jewish community, but to other survivors of sexual abuse suffering in silence.
“If I can help one person, if I can bring some sort of healing to one person by telling my story, then it’s worth it,” he said.