eHe is said to have forced some of his victims to fast for forty days, others had to hold their hands in an open fire if he did not like their behavior – in order to "feel what hell feels like". When the Israeli police arrested the self-proclaimed Rabbi Aharon Ramati on Monday, the investigators in the Geula district, which is mainly populated by ultra-Orthodox, were presented with a picture of misery. Ramati is said to have kept dozens of women like slaves in rooms filled with bunk beds.
The police are also investigating possible abuse of children between the ages of five and eleven who are believed to have lived with their mothers in the ultra-orthodox sect's premises. The Jerusalem Post newspaper quoted eyewitnesses from the neighboring building who said they saw "girls on mattresses on the roof in the cold, sometimes in the rain". It was not possible to address them. Later, a tarp was set up to prevent insights.
Months ago, some of the women contacted a cult victim center that eventually notified the police. Rachel Lichtenstein, director of the center, reported absolute control by the rabbi. "He decided when to take a shower," said the director of the Israel Hajom newspaper center.
More and more victims dare to go public
Anyone who did not comply was punished. A police spokesman said that women who had joined the sect had been persuaded to break away from their families and friends. They had to give their money to Ramati. In addition to the sixty-year-old rabbi, the police also arrested eight women who are said to have collaborated with him.
Years ago, the rabbi had been investigated for similar allegations. After the investigation ended in 2015, he said on television: "The majority of girls go to work in the morning and take classes in the afternoon for about three hours." Ramati had said about the allegations: "If girls didn't like it in the house , I was cruel to them. ”After he was arrested again this week, he said he was innocent and was awaiting release“ like last time ”. At that time, some of his supporters had testified in his favor. Ramati's lawyer again denied the allegations.
Prominent ultra-orthodox rabbis had already called for the Ramati seminar to be closed in 2011. "People had known about the case for a long time," said ultra-orthodox women's rights activist Avigayil Heilbronn-Karlinsky. On the one hand, the many ultra-orthodox communities are largely isolated from the rest of Israeli society; the education system, for example, is organized independently, apart from minor government requirements. On the other hand, more and more victims of abuse venture into the public eye and break away from sect structures in which there is abuse. And not only women are affected: Heilbronn-Karlinsky estimates that more than half of the victims of abuse are boys.
. (TagsToTranslate) Police (t) Women (t) Jerusalem