Pedophilia-Even Jews Suffer From Its Curse


rabbis IIOver the last decade much has been made of pedophilia and how predominant it is in Islamic culture.  Everyone from the last Prophet of God to Yassir Arafat has suffered the accusation that this deviant behavior is indicative of Islam.  Catholicism too has been branded by  pedophilia because of the many revelations  some of its clergy have abused worshipers in this way.  Under the title, ‘Protecting the pedophiles’, are we to assume with this latest revelation that Judaism, the oldest religion, is the progenitor of this way of life among the religions of the world?

For several weeks in April last year, the seven-year-old son of residents of the ultra-Orthodox Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood insisted on staying at home. “This was odd, because he always loved to go to school,” relates his mother. “All of a sudden he looked scared and tried to find excuses not to go.”

Then one day the boy suddenly told his elder brother: “The rabbi touched me.”

“The rabbi” is a teacher at the ultra-Orthodox Yishrei Lev school for boys, which the boy attended. “When his brother asked, ‘Where did he touch you?'” relates the father, “the boy pointed to his intimate parts.”

The parents, who immigrated to Israel from the United States about 10 years ago, are very active in the ultra-Orthodox “Anglo-Saxon” (English-speaking) community in Ramat Beit Shemesh. As soon as the incident became known they received phone calls from rabbis and community functionaries who tried to dissuade them from continuing to investigate, and pressure them to deal with the incident with the help of the Mishmeret Hatzniut modesty patrol from Mea She’arim in Jerusalem.

The parents, who initially submitted to the pressure, ultimately took courage and in August 2008 they filed a complaint with the police. From the questioning of the boy by the police it emerged that ostensibly innocent tickling descended into indecent acts every day during recess over a long period. Parallel to the investigation the parents turned to the school directors, and the teacher was fired. During the following months three other boys from the class also filed complaints against the rabbi with the police.

However, at the start of the current school year the suspect had no difficulty in finding another educational institution in Ramat Beit Shemesh, and has been teaching there ever since.

This week the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office decided to close the case against the teacher for lack of evidence. The boy’s parents have appealed this decision. They complain that the case was dealt with in a flawed way after several investigators were replaced during the course of the investigation. Beit Shemesh police dismiss these claims.

Ever since the affair was revealed, the parents have been vulnerable and exposed to a community that is condemning them for having laundered their dirty linen in public, and especially for complaining to the authorities. Later on their names were made public, and rumors were circulated to the effect that it was one of their sons who molested his brother. The father of the family has had to leave his synagogue because of the alienating way he was treated by the congregation.

But the most resounding slap, according to the father, was felt by the family when the principal of the school to which their son, the victim of the abuse, had been accepted during the summer, informed them that he had decided to revoke his acceptance on the excuse that he would need treatment that the school did not have the capacity to offer. “I think they simply want to distance us because we are a family that makes problems,” says the father. “My son asked me, ‘Daddy, is it because of what happened?’ What answer could I give him?”

The storm around the Yishrei Lev story refuses to die down, especially as other affairs involving sexual abuse of children have surfaced lately. Four 10-year-olds from the ultra-Orthodox Bais Shalom institution for boys filed complaints with police this year against two rabbis on suspicion of physical and psychological abuse. In the course of the investigation it emerged that one of the teachers is also suspected of sexual molestation.

According to a source familiar with the details of the case, the rabbi would yell at the children that they are stupid and dolts, hit them on their sexual organs and twist their arms tightly.

According to Rabbi Tzvi Rabinsky, the director of the Toras Habayis educational institutions, of which Bais Shalom is one of three schools, the management is not obligated to report as long as the cases have not been proven to it. Also, because the investigation of the institution was carried out during vacation time and found that they are clean, there was no need to suspend the teachers.

According to Rabinsky and educational supervisor Rabbi Yosef Juliard, the complaints refer to the two best teachers at the school, and throughout the entire year during which the parents are claiming the teachers abused their children the directors heard only praise of the teachers from parents. Moreover, according to them, one of the families that filed complaints continued to send the complainant’s younger brother to study with the teacher who is suspected of abuse.

To support their claim regarding the teachers’ innocence, the directors showed a graphological test of one of the teachers in which he came out clear of any suspicion. They say they were prepared to see to all the necessary tests carried out by expert psychologists, but the parents of the children were not prepared to cooperate.

“We initially thought of going to the police, but we can’t spill innocent blood. And apart from that the parents of the other children pressed us not to fire the teachers,” said Yuliard and Rabinsky. According to them the parents’ accusations against the teachers derive from the fact that the teachers sent their children for diagnosis, and there are parents who feel pressured by this.

The second case involves a complaint to the police in December last year by parents concerning the suspicion that their 6-year-old daughter had been molested when she was three by an assistant nursery teacher who is still working at the kindergarten. At around that age the little girl stopped talking and her behavior became problematic. The parents took the girl for various treatments and, as a result, two years later she began to function again normally.

According to the mother, only this year her daughter spontaneously related that the assistant used to strip her naked, tie her up and ask her to touch her body in different ways. “The child had never seen people behaving in a sexual way,” says the father, with tears in his eyes. “How could she have imagined all those details?”

In the meantime the case has been closed for lack of evidence because the girl did not cooperate with the investigation. About a year ago, when the suspicion of another case arose and the parents demanded that the institution take action, the kindergarten employee was suspended, but she has since returned to work.

In Ramat Beit Shemesh, the population consists mostly of ultra-Orthodox Jews from abroad, who are considered more open than the Israeli-born ultra-Orthodox. Most of them work and therefore are more connected to the world around them. However, as new immigrants they are prisoners in the hands of the rabbinical establishment that is the captive of the most extreme Israeli ultra-Orthodoxy. The parents’ reporting to the police in the three cases has been interpreted by the rabbis and school directors as traitorous to the community.

In all the cases, the children’s departure from the schools stirred up a storm. The parents have been cold-shouldered by neighbors and friends, and have had to stop worshiping at their synagogues. As a result of the demands to retract their complaints they are feeling threatened. One family has even left Israel but is continuing to cooperate with police investigators.

“Instead of looking inward in an attempt to understand how Ramat Beit Shemesh has become a city of refuge for pedophiles and how to stop the plague, they are thinking about how to silence us,” said one parent whose child fell victim to sexual abuse.

“There is denial here by an entire community,” says Helise Pollack, a former welfare officer from Ramat Beit Shemesh and an expert on children who have experienced sexual abuse, who is treating some of the children. “They simply don’t believe the complainants. The people suspected of sexual abuse do not look like monsters. These are people who have families, regular people. They make an excellent impression on their surroundings. What happens is that the victim’s family is put on trial.”

However, if thus far the community’s attitude toward those who decided to complain to the police has been one of condemnation, only now, in the wake of the additional cases, are voices beginning to be heard calling for protest against the silencing of the incidents at the price of exposing children to risk of abuse. Recently fear of the “plague of sexual abuse,” as people in the community are defining it, has led to some urgent assemblies of parents to discuss the problem.

About three weeks ago parents whose children are enrolled at the educational institution where the assistant is working convened to discuss what steps to take following a rumor that there has been another complaint against her. A week later, about 15 women met in a private home to hear Pollack and get her advice. “People in Ramat Beit Shemesh are taking the law into their hands,” Pollack said. According to her, “Pedophilia is an addiction. Pedophiles must not be around children.”

Pollack told the women that if the school does not fire the teacher, they must withdraw their children from the school in order to protect them. Her familiarity with the welfare system, the fact that she is religious and not ultra-Orthodox and the fact that she is Anglo-Saxon in origin have made her the address to which the parents are turning. The women were raised in a society where problematic topics like abuse are not discussed, and as mothers they are now going through a process of opening their eyes and mouths in order to warn their children.

“In ultra-Orthodox society the child’s voice is not heard. They prefer to be considerate of the adult,” said one mother.

The women confessed to Pollack their bad feeling about the beatings in heder (traditional school for young boys) as a matter of routine – a rabbi who crudely pushes a child’s face into the Pentateuch on the table, another rabbi who cruelly twists ears – and said that this reality has to stop.

“Write about us compassionately,” one of the women requested after the meeting. “I love this community. ”

At another meeting held this month on the issue of sexual abuse, attended by nearly 100 people, the lecturer, a volunteer from the hotline on sexual abuse issues for religious women and girls, apologized for talking about immodest things. “I didn’t understand why she was apologizing the whole time,” complained one woman. “I got up and said, ‘We’re talking about child abuse. What does that have to do with modesty?'”

The speaker, D., is the mother of children who studied at an institution where sexual abuse took place. Ever since the abuse affairs became known, she has been acting unremitingly to fight the community’s terrible silence. “They are saying that to blame the teachers is murder,” she says, “and talking about how rabbinical law prohibits harming their livelihood. But against that, what about the danger of the harm to children? I am asking how it is possible to keep someone who is suspected of abuse at a school with little children.”

During the past year 10 families applied to the welfare office in Ramat Beit Shemesh and the National Council for the Child concerning such issues. According to the NCC’s director, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, this represents an increase in the rate of applicants from that neighborhood. However, according to Kadman and Pollack, in Ramat Beit Shemesh a kind of social chaos prevails. “Beit Shemesh has grown at dramatic rates but the welfare office has not been given extra manpower slots. There aren’t enough social workers and welfare officers,” says Kadman. “Among other things a population has arrived here that is closed and extremist, and requires complex treatment.”

The prosecution did not bother to inform the complainants in the Yishrei Lev case that it had been closed, because of a malfunction. This fact added to the parents’ overall feeling that they are being punished for reporting the abuse. “If in this particular community, someone who gathers up the courage and complains doesn’t get the fastest and best treatment, he will retreat and the whole community will get the message that it is not a good idea to report,” says Kadman. “We mustn’t miss this window of opportunity.”

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Interesting insight into the Israeli national mentality


No matter what they say about nuclear weapons possessed by Iran or hostile Arab neighbors who want to drive the Jews into the sea, it’s the least of Israeli worries, just as  Saddam Hussein’s WMDs were no threat to Israel or anyone else for that matter, because they simply didn’t exist. What is interesting is reading what Israel thinks are their problems and why and the list is far more revealing than any I’ve seen to date.  Here they are in the order mentioned in this article Seven Existential Threats.

1.The Loss of Jerusalem; partly due to the absence of Zionists living in the city.

2.The Arab Demographic Threat; Israel must be 70% Zionist in order to be legitimate and Arabs are having too many children

3. Delegitimization; Israel’s sins are receiving world wide attention which is bad for it’s reputation.

4.Terrorism; we’ve heard it all before.

5. A Nuclear-Armed Iran; we’ve heard this all before too.

6.The Hemorrhaging of Sovereignty; Israel doesn’t exert its control over people under its authority.

7.Corruption;The breakdown of public morality especially among it’s leaders.

The blog, War In Context,  does a decent job dismantling some of the above notions but looking at Oren’s list, the originator of the 7 deadly threats to Israel, it appears his biggest complaint and remedy for it is the absence of Zionism and the need for more Zionism.  Not much mention of Judaism as a religion, but rather Zionism as a political movement.  One other line in his piece that brought about a chuckle was this assertion:

Israel, the Jewish State, is predicated on a decisive and stable Jewish majority of at least 70 percent. Any lower than that and Israel will have to decide between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. If it chooses democracy, then Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. If it remains officially Jewish, then the state will face an unprecedented level of international isolation, including sanctions, that might prove fatal.

Is he saying democracy is a threat to and not consistent with Israeli interests?  Ohh, America, are you listening?

Lies, damn lies and statistics


wp_gazaThe Israeli war machine has killed over 800 Palestinians and  claims are their genocidal blood lust will be escalated, but finally there are cries, albeit faint, that Israel has committed war crimes.  It’s about time!  All one need do is look at the volume of work on the internet, indisputable pictures and videos which show the use of white phosphorous, the shooting of medical aid workers who were out attending to the wounded as well as hospitals and their facilities, the indiscriminate bombing of shelters for the homeless, and most notably the UN sponsored school where scores of people were killed, all civilians, by the murderous IDF to know that Israel has committed war crimes and should be censured by the international community.

The United Nations has accused Israel of evacuating scores of Palestinians into a house in the suburbs of Gaza City, only to shell the property 24 hours later, killing some 30 people.

In a report published today on what it called “one of the gravest incidents” of the 14-day conflict, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) complained that the Israeli Defence Force then prevented medical teams from entering the area to evacuate the wounded, including young children.

All of these actions come amidst the incontrovertible fact that Israel is the aggressor in this latest war on Palestinians.

Thus the latest ceasefire ended when Israel first killed Palestinians, and Palestinians then fired rockets into Israel. However, before attempting to glean lessons from this event, we need to know if this case is atypical, or if it reflects a systematic pattern.We defined “conflict pauses” as periods of one or more days when no one is killed on either side, and we asked which side kills first after conflict pauses of different durations. As shown in Figure 2, this analysis shows that it is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict: 79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day). In addition, we found that this pattern — in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause — becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.

Thus, a systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week.

The lessons from these data are clear:

First, Hamas can indeed control the rockets, when it is in their interest. The data shows that ceasefires can work, reducing the violence to nearly zero for months at a time.

Second, if Israel wants to reduce rocket fire from Gaza, it should cherish and preserve the peace when it starts to break out, not be the first to kill.

One can conclude that Israel is not interested in peace with its neighbors and that this information alone should be the impetus on which the world community denies Israel the blind eye it has lent the Israeli government for so long and impose the type of punishment reserved and codified for “evil doers” or breakers of international law.

The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, former Princeton University law professor Richard Falk, calls what Israel is doing to the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza “a crime against humanity.” Falk, who is Jewish, has condemned the collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza as “a flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law as laid down in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” He has asked for “the International Criminal Court to investigate the situation, and determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.”

“It is macabre,” Falk said. “I don’t know of anything that exactly fits this situation. People have been referring to the Warsaw ghetto as the nearest analog in modern times.”

“There is no structure of an occupation that endured for decades and involved this kind of oppressive circumstances,” the rapporteur added. “The magnitude, the deliberateness, the violations of international humanitarian law, the impact on the health, lives and survival and the overall conditions warrant the characterization of a crime against humanity. This occupation is the direct intention by the Israeli military and civilian authorities. They are responsible and should be held accountable.”

The above stated view should gain more traction as time goes on.  There is plenty of documentation to make a case for the illegal nature of the Israeli government towards Palestinian Arabs both inside Israel and in the occupied territories.  The longer it takes for America and the rest of the world to act and deny this voracious killer its meal of foreign aide and military hardware, the more likely we are to have these kinds of incursions onto foreign soil by the Israeli government.