(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Central District Court ruled today that David Ben- Haham Hafuta, the Netanya
rabbi charged with using mystical threats to make a 13-year-old girl have sex
with him, will remain in custody throughout the court proceedings against
The state had requested Hafuta remain in custody, rather than being
released to house arrest, claiming that the rabbi posed a threat to the
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Hafuta, a 63-year-old community rabbi from Netanya, was arrested
in May and charged with forcing a 13-yearold into having sex with him, by
exploiting his authority and using “mystical threats” to intimidate
According to the charge sheet, Hafuta is accused of performing
sexual acts on three occasions with the girl.
Between July and August
2010, the defendant picked up the girl at a Netanya intersection and drove her
to a local beach.
He had sex with the girl after telling her she had to
“repair her sins” and that she would be “the mother of the messiah.”
defendant used sayings and threats which were apparently based on mystical
foundations in order to intimidate and enchant the minor, and convince her to
hold sexual relations with him,” said the charge sheet.
He then held a
“marriage ceremony” with the girl, and swore her to secrecy.
“He told her
on several occasions that she has destructive forces that could cause the deaths
of people, and that she must control those forces by having sex with him. He
also warned that her mother ‘had to go’ and that she had to save her,” state
Hafuta had opposed the state's request to keep him in
Attorney Zion Amir, representing the defendant, told the court
that Hafuta did not pose a threat but was a "normative, 63-year-old man who had
no previous offenses and a family and children.”
Amir told the court that
Hafuta had admitted the “vast majority of the allegations made against him in
the charge sheet.”
“He also expressed remorse and regret for his
failures,” Amir said.
Amir proposed that Hafuta be released to house
arrest with his sister and her family in Bnei Brak.
attorney Yair Hershkovitz said that probation service reports on Hafuta noted
that the defendant had initiated a relationship of trust between himself and the
13- year-old complainant, which indicated “a degree of risk of recurrence of
problem behavior in the future.”
“The probation service noted the
defendant’s distorted thinking, that he is manipulative and a seducer, and
behaves in an exploitative manner. The report also noted the defendant’s
problematic perception of boundaries,” said Hershkovitz, who argued placing the
defendant under house arrest in his sister’s home was “not a suitable
alternative” to detention.
In ruling that Hafuta should remain in custody
for the duration of the court proceedings, Judge Varda Meroz noted that the
defendant had been a neighborhood rabbi for 31 years, and had taught Torah in
The complainant had met Hafuta several months before
his arrest and had started to turn to him for answers to questions about
Judaism. She began to trust him and take him into her confidence on intimate
However, according to the charge sheet, Hafuta had blamed the
complainant for his actions, the judge wrote.
“That claim, on the face of
it, teaches a great deal about the defendant’s character and behavior,” the
“The facts set out in the charge sheet indicate that
[Hafuta] poses a danger.”
The judge also noted that there was not a
suitable alternative arrangement to Hafuta’s continued detention.