orthodox jews 88.
(photo credit: )
Three men were arrested last week by Tel Aviv Police on suspicion of attempting
to extort a well-known Bnei Brak rabbi, police sources said on
RELATED:Make for yourself a (new) rabbi
Two main suspects, whose names are barred from publication, are
believed to have conspired to extort $150,000 from the rabbi, after mistakenly
believing that he had pocketed more than half a million dollars from an American
Jewish donor that was intended for charity.
The third suspect, an
American millionaire and a resident of Brooklyn, New York, is believed to have
taken part in extortion attempts, a police source told The Jerusalem
“This affair began in August, when a rumor spread in a synagogue
that the rabbi received $600,000 from a Jewish American donor based in New York,
but didn’t pass it on to its intended recipient,” a police source told The
After hearing the rumor, the source added, the main two
suspects went to the rabbi’s office, pretending to represent the US donor, and
began making threats and demands for a portion of the money.
insisted he had never received the money.
“They told him, we will ruin
your daughter’s wedding. We want $150,000,” the police source added. “The
threats continued via phone calls.”
In a bizarre twist, the source said,
the US donor himself is suspected of being a part of the extortion plot, after
he allegedly told the rabbi that the two suspects were linked to underworld
elements, and that it would be “in his best interest” to pay the amount they
demanded. The rabbi facing the threats then contacted police.
14, at a meeting in the lobby of the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv, the rabbi facing
the extortion threats met with the two suspects and the American donor, and
demands for the money were reiterated. Undercover detectives pretending to be
waiters documented the meeting.
“The rabbi again said he didn’t receive
any money, and the meeting ended without agreement,” the police source said. The
“waiters” then immediately arrested the three suspects.
All three are
suspected of conspiracy to commit a crime and extortion. The two main suspects
are in custody, while the American national has been placed under house arrest
for 15 days, the police source said.