Chief Rabbi's son sentenced to 2 years, 8 months in jail

Accused of kidnapping and assault sister's boyfriend; mother not convicted.

rabbi amar 88 (photo credit: )
rabbi amar 88
(photo credit: )
Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Meir Amar, the son of Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, to two years and eight months in jail for kidnapping and badly assaulting the 17-year-old boyfriend of his sister. In his decision, Judge Zecharya Caspi wrote, "[Amar's] violent and harsh behavior, with its accompanying acts of contempt and humiliation towards the victim, lasting an entire night, are deserving of severe punishment. This response to his acts, and our expression of revulsion towards them, are meant to contribute to the diminishing of the dangerous phenomenon of violence in our society." In November, the state and Amar's defense attorney, Sassi Gez, reached a plea bargain agreement whereby Amar pleaded guilty to lesser charges than those contained in the original indictment against him. The new charges included kidnapping for the purpose of extortion, abuse of a minor, and false imprisonment. Amar also agreed to pay $35,000 in damages to the young man he had taken from home, beaten and threatened. During the court session on sentencing pleas, the state asked the court to send Amar to prison for three years. Gez asked the court for a sentence of one-and-a-half years. Amar brought nine character witnesses, including his older sister, to testify on his behalf. These favorable testimonies, wrote Caspi, "do not explain the degree of cruelty which the defendant applied to the youth or the humiliation and contempt with which he treated him. Perhaps even more than the physical violence of the beating and kicking and other acts, the humiliation and contempt were even more damaging. These reached their climax with the shocking acts of cutting up his kippa and cutting off his earlocks." In his sentence, Caspi also related to the three other defendants in the case, Amar's mother, Mazal, and Abdullah and Ahmed Sualma, the two Israeli Arab friends who helped him kidnap the youth, beat him and confine him. Their sentences had been handed down previously by Caspi without comment. The prosecution and the defense reached an agreement not to convict Mazal Amar. Nevertheless, Caspi wrote that she had had "reasonable cause" to believe that the young man had been taken by force and beaten. "She did nothing," Caspi wrote. "This is enough to arouse concern and astonishment regarding her conduct even without considering the logical conclusion, that she failed to report [the crime.] This itself is a crime…" Abdullah Sualma, 29, was sentenced to 18 months in jail, while his brother, Ahmed, 31, was given four months. In their plea bargain, they also agreed to pay NIS 15,000 in damages to the youth.