Men allegedly tried to blackmail former Bikur Cholim dir.

Police have been investigating whether Peretz Hirschenbaum of Mifaal Hayim sent an actress to lure him into a hotel room and took photos.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
January 19, 2011 10:52
2 minute read.
Men allegedly tried to blackmail former Bikur Cholim dir.

DUDI ZILBERSHLAG 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Police arrested at least four people in connection with the Zilbershlag affair, including actress Tom Darom and Mifaal Hayim director Peretz Hirschenbaum, was taken into custody for questioning and later released.

The Jerusalem Police has been investigating whether Peretz Hirschenbaum, the director of Mifaal Hayim, tried to blackmail Zilbershlag, who is also an influential journalist.

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Five arrested for allegedly blackmailing haredi journalist

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court lifted a gag order on the case on Tuesday.

Four other people have reportedly been arrested in connection to the suspected blackmail, which Zilbershlag had reported to police.

Hirschenbaum and Roth allegedly sent an actress, Tom Darom, who posed as the daughter of a donor to Bikur Cholim Hospital. Zilbershlag was director of Bikur Cholim until he resigned several months ago.

According to reports, Darom met with Zilbershlag twice at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv with envelopes of cash for donation to Mifaal Hayim, and had mentioned donating a large sum of over $100,000 to the hospital.



In the third meeting, at the Ramada Renaissance in Jerusalem, Darom reportedly convinced Zilbershlag to come to her hotel room to get a heavy painting that she wanted to donate to the hospital. In the room, she offered to give Zilbershlag a massage, which he accepted.

Zilbershlag told Channel 2 that Darom massaged his knee while the two were both wearing robes, but insisted that it went no further. He admitted that he was very close to doing more. “When I look at myself, I can see that I stumbled,” he said.

Private detectives allegedly hired by the suspects photographed the entire interaction in the hotel room. A few days later, Zilbershlag allegedly received a text message warning that the photos would be made public unless he dropped all the legal proceedings with Hirschenbaum involving Mifaal Hayim, at which point he went to the police.

Darom told the Hebrew media, “I was told that the work was as an investigator and the goal was to expose the corruption of a public figure in the haredi sector, and they emphasized that I needed to show that he did not observe the rules of modesty.”

Hirschenbaum’s lawyers, Uri Keidar and Amir Barak, released a statement saying that “Mr. Hirschenbaum has no connection or involvement with this incident, and we regret the attempt to slander him and blacken his name. Mr.

Hirschenbaum is a respected businessman in Israel and the world and an outstanding philanthropist who dedicates his life to helping tens of thousands of needy people in Israel.

“Conversely, the complainant is a man with heavy debts who fools dozens of people and gained many enemies,” Keidar and Barak said.

“Now he has been caught exhibiting behavior that does not befit the moral values of the community he belongs to... He is trying to move the spotlight from the heavy suspicions against him that have been published in various media.”

Zilbershlag has been suspected of illegally depositing NIS 1.6 million of Bikur Cholim funds into Mifaal Hayim’s account. Zilbershlag and Hirschenbaum have been involved in legal disputes for the past three years over Mifaal Hayim.

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