Deputy minister of Health Yaakov Litzman seen leaving a meeting at the Rabbinate building in Jerusalem on February 14, 2019. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
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A little-known company located in Switzerland has come under scrutiny by the Special Counsel’s Office for its connection to Psy Group, the firm that created a social media manipulation plan to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. That’s according to three sources with knowledge of the office’s questioning, and documents obtained by The Daily Beast.
Former employees of Psy Group said the FBI interviewed them in 2017 and asked detailed questions about the firm’s business and ownership structure. These same sources told The Daily Beast that while working at Psy, which is now defunct, they operated under the understanding that Joel Zamel, an Australian with links to Israeli intelligence, ultimately owned the firm. But the financial structure of Psy Group was much more complicated, they said, and included offshore entities registered in the British Virgin Islands.
At the end of that chain of opaque offshore entities sits a Zurich, Switzerland-based financial services group known as Salix Services AG, according to interviews with former Psy Group employees and two other individuals with insight into the firm’s ownership. And financial documents appear to show a relationship between Salix, named after the Latin word for a willow tree, and at least one of the companies that owned Psy Group.
Robert Mueller’s team has eyed Salix as part of his wide-ranging probe into foreign meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Details about Psy Group’s financials and its ties to Salix could shed new light on a pair of mysteries that could be key to this part of the special counsel’s probe: Why did international business and influence-peddler George Nader pay Zamel $2 million after the election? And where did all that money go?
On its blander-than-bland website, Salix offers few clues about its operations. (“Like the Willow, at Salix our roots as well are deep and run wide through a network of clients, professional intermediaries, financial institutions and family offices,” the site reads.) And the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Zamel’s lawyer declined to comment. The Special Counsel’s Office declined to comment.
For more than a year, Psy Group and its owner, Zamel, have flown somewhat under the radar, despite the questions they’ve faced about their efforts to use online propaganda to help Trump with the presidency.
The New York Times was the first to detail Psy Group’s plan. And on Monday, The New Yorker published a detailed story about the firm and its operations, calling it a “Private Mossad for Hire.” But Zamel’s involvement in any plan to help Trump win through an online propaganda campaign has remained somewhat elusive. Former Psy Group employees previously told The Daily Beast that they believed Zamel could have carried out a plan separate from the one they pitched to Trumpworld in 2016.
The state prosecution on Thursday filed a request with the Jerusalem District Court to allow the extradition of two men accused by the US of participating in a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme.
Aviv Mizrahi and Aryeh Greenes, both US citizens, have been charged with defrauding California banks for $33 million between 2004-2008.
The FBI has said the two fled to Israel to escape arrest.
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By STEVE LIPMAN
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.”
Again and again, as the audiences move from room to room, Ms. Zernowitski waits her turn, smiles, stands and delivers a five-minute stump speech that turns heads and opens minds.
She rails against the state-funded but privately run ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, education system, where, she says, “your background” and “who you know” determine “who gets into the good schools.” She recounts how she became a trailblazer as an ultrareligious woman in high-tech, but laments how her children are stuck “in the same place I was before.”
She blasts the Haredi parties, which she says are a half-century behind the times on women’s rights, gay rights and many other issues, and the right-wing government over which those parties hold outsize sway, because she says it ignores problems affecting Haredi communities for fear of antagonizing its coalition partners.
And she explains, like an emissary from another planet, to urban hipsters who may never have talked with their black hat- or wig-wearing neighbors, that a “revolution” is underway among the ultra-Orthodox: The “new Haredim,” as she calls them — younger, worldlier people who use smartphones and commute to diverse workplaces in the big cities — are hungry for change, dying to engage with and be embraced by broader Israeli society, and ready like never before to break ranks at the ballot box.
“There’s a huge gap between what the ultra-Orthodox establishment is doing and what the people want,” Ms. Zernowitski says.
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Judicial sex scandal in Israel turns into wave of arrests. Head of Israeli Bar arrested
Following two weeks of rumours after the head of Police Lahav 433 went to Netanya and asked for a gag order of a sensitive pot[sic] involving the Judiciary, this morning January 16 2019, started with arrests, seizures and interrogations of the main suspects. It turns out Telem Yahav, head of Lahav 433, leaked his visit to Netanya as a dragnet ploy to catch Netanya Judge Etti Krieff off guard.
The police leaked that they avoided filing the gag order in Rishon LeZion so as not to disclose the investigation into a judge who is close friends with Effi Naveh – head of the Israel Bar. It is now revealed that Judge Etti Krieff was the real suspect for offering sexual pleasures to Effi Naveh in exchange for her promotion from her position as a policewoman to that of a Judge. Krieff fell into the trap and talked on the phone, whilst the police were listening.
Apparently District Court Judge Eitan Orenshtein signed the wiretap order. Once deciphered, this morning Effi Naveh was arrested, the entire possessions of his house loaded onto trucks as evidence. Naveh’s relatives announced that he is temporarily suspending his position as head of the Bar. This afternoon he will be brought before a judge, probably Judge Allah Masrawa of the Tel Aviv Ha Shalom Court.
Also raided were the main offices of the Israel Bar in central Tel Aviv. Naveh’s law office is situated directly across from the Prosecution offices. The District Attorney in Tel Aviv has not yet been raided.
Also called for interrogation this morning was Susie Ozsinay Aranya, an attorney married to Judge Rafi Aranya in Rishon LeZion. Susie Aranya is the daughter of a billionaire Turkish Industrialist, who is now running in the primaries at the Likud Party which is financed by her dad. Susie may not have been surprised about her impending call from the police, since rumours about her were published by Richard Silverstein from California. Silverstein wrote that Susie offered sexual services to Effi Naveh, in return for promoting Judge Aranya to the Tel Aviv District Court.
Incidentally, the blogger Lory Shem Tov, arrested in February 2017, still imprisoned, was charged with sexually molesting Susie and Rafi Aranya for reporting in a blog 3 years ago that Mrs Aranya was in sexual cahoots with E.xxx (referring to Effi) to promote her husband. Now it appears she was correct.
Before her arrest, Shem Tov was in touch with Barak Lazer, legal Advisor of the Court Administration, who leaked to her confidential information. The police obtained a search warrant for Lazer’s phone and computer where they found evidence of nefarious contacts with Naveh, Aranya and other judges such as Yosef Elron, Einat Ron, Shelly Rozman Farkash, Iris Arbel Asal, and others. This treasure trove served as the basis for collecting the data at the police.
All this would have stayed permanently dormant but for an interview at Uvda TV news show with Ilana Dyan where Effi Naveh bragged about his powers with Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Justice, and blamed Shai Nitzan, Shaked’s nemesis, for personally chasing hi, and ordering his indictment for border control skipping with his new lover, Ms. Bar Katz.
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