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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Murderer of Rabbi Abuhatzeira: I Kissed His Hand before Killing Him

Beersheva - The murderer of Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, the Kabbalah rabbi grandson of the Babi Sali Thursday says he kissed the rabbi’s hand before stabbing him. “I don’t know what devil or Satan got into me” at the moment of the murder.

Asher Dahan, who is in police custody, told the Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper, “I respect Rabbi Abuhatzeira and depend on him for everything. He was everything for me. I worshipped him.”

“Every time I left the rabbi, I had a feeling of happiness and joy,” Dahan told police investigators. He gave me hope there is a solution to everything in life, and I never tight for a moment that perhaps he was wrong.

“There were problem between my wife and me,” Dahan explained. “I went often to the rabbi for advice, and he told me to do allsorts of things, but the situation only got worse. It caused me personal damage, and it reached point that I was afraid of a divorce.”

Dahan waited to be the last one to see the rabbi so he could be alone with him.

“I kissed the rabbi’s hand and said a few words” after entering, Dahan related. “Seconds later, I took out the knife and stabbed him in his chest. He screamed and fell to the floor.”

Where will mixed couple's child study?

The Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court ruled recently that the son of a divorced ultra-Orthodox father and secular mother would study in a state-religious kindergarten and school.

The couple got married several years ago when both man and wife were still secular, but shortly afterwards the woman became religious and convinced her husband to join her. The man slowly became a devout Jew, while his wife began leading a secular lifestyle again.

About half a year ago, the couple's marriage reached a breaking point and they decided to get divorced. The child's education was one of the issues discussed even before the actual divorce, with each parent insisting on their own religious affiliation.

At first, the parents agreed that the child would study in state-religious institutions and that the court would decide from which age.

The divorce was granted and implemented, the judges scheduled a discussion on the agreement's implementation, but then the woman argued that when she had signed the agreement she did not fully understand all of its clauses.

The mother presented a new claim, saying that if the child would grow up in her home he may suffer from the contradiction between the religious education and her secular lifestyle.

The father's lawyer replied that the state-religious education system has many students whose parents are not religious, and that "no child has ever been damaged by studying Judaism in a pleasant way and not forcibly."

According to the lawyer, "Tolerance and pluralism do not exist only when one opinion is accepted. Reducing the struggle and focusing on what is best for the child and on strengthening his religious identity will only help in his upbringing."

'Suitable solution for extreme contrast'

The Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court accepted the husband's stance, ruling that the child would be educated in the state religious school system. Moreover, the court decided that the child's religious education would begin as early as the next school year, at the age of three.

"Although the mother is the custodial parent, it is in the child's best interest to have a good connection with his father as well," the judges wrote in their decision. "The mother's desire to give the child a secular education does not reflect concern for the child's welfare but for the mother's personal convenience only."

According to the judges, "The religious conflict issue depends greatly on the desire and sensitivity of the custodial parent, and on ensuring that the child will not be hurt."

The court concluded, "State-religious education appears to be a suitable solution for such a case of extreme contrast between the parents' outlooks. This educational system is open and suitable for mixed and secular families as well, and the child will be able to fit in."

In Landmark Deal, Chabad Men To Enlist In IDF

Nahal ultra-Orthodox soldiers; Chabad soon to join

Leaders of the Chabad-Lubavitch ultra-Orthodox movement have brokered an agreement with the Israel Defense Forces to draft male members for full military service. The agreement is to be signed soon, both sides report. The move marks the first time an entire Orthodox Hasidic movement will commit itself to sending its members to the Israeli military.

The deal is unique and significant as most Israeli ultra-Orthodox men do not perform military service, preferring instead to focus on their religious studies. The issue is a serious cause of tension between the religious and secular sectors of Israeli society.

The agreement between Chabad and the IDF, which comes after several months of negotiations, allows Chabad yeshiva students to leave the country for one year at the completion of their religious studies. After their year abroad, the students will be required to return to Israel for regular military service of three years.

The agreement stipulates that the men will be drafted and will have to serve a full three-year term even if they were married before beginning their service.

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement was founded in Russia in the late 18th century and established its headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in the 1940s. Under its seventh rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, it became a powerful force within modern Judaism. Schneerson died in 1994 and no successor has since been named.

Israeli Chabad students traditionally traveled to New York to spend up to a year with the community upon the completion of their yeshiva studies, when secular high-school graduates usually begin their compulsory military service. The IDF allows certain exemptions for those who study Torah as their main occupation, but after Schneerson died, the IDF notified Chabad that its students were not covered by the exemption and no longer had permission to leave the country.

Chabad leaders believe the year in New York is an important aspect of a yeshiva student's education, and did not accept the IDF's change. Many Chabad students continued to travel to New York and were labeled deserters. The new agreement with the IDF will allow Chabad students to continue their traditional year abroad if they agree to return at the end for full military service.

Chabad leaders have downplayed the importance of the new pact. “The agreement does not stipulate that if you are religious, you don't have to do IDF service,” one Chabad leader said. “The exemption is only while you are in yeshiva. Most members of Chabad do not attend kolels [religious study institutions for married men] through their 30s and 40s -- they only study in their 20s, and they generally have jobs and join the IDF.”

Chabad is concerned about fallout from other ultra-Orthodox groups because of the agreement, said a source with knowledge of the agreement. The IDF, on the other hand, is satisfied, considering the agreement a significant achievement after years of trying to integrate ultra-Orthodox communities into greater Israeli society, and is looking forward to the official support of some of Israel's most highly respected rabbis and Haredi community leaders. “This sets a precedent in the Haredi world,” the source said of the agreement. “For the first time, rabbis will support an agreement that will significantly increase the numbers in the IDF's ranks.”

An official statement from the IDF Spokesperson's Unit also downplayed the agreement's significance. “IDF representatives constantly meet with relevant people in efforts to increase the numbers of those who are drafted. There is nothing new in the report,” the statement said.

Kosher pork: Jewish groups rake it in

City budget data shows that Jewish affiliated nonprofits have far outpaced their religious counterparts in bringing home taxpayer dough. Jewish groups secured $4.26 million from City Council members in the 2012 budget, far more than Catholic groups, which will take home $517,250, and Islamic/Muslim groups, which secured $19,000.

The numbers reflect a million-dollar bump for Jewish groups, compared to this year’s budget, and a dip of $50,000 for Catholic groups.

The council distributes $50 million in so-called “member items” to nonprofit organizations citywide, and a recent report by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said favoritism is endemic in the flawed system.

Among groups with a religious affiliation, the biggest beneficiary in the funding free-for-all is the politically connected Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which is taking home $1.4 million — more than Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Pentecostal groups combined. The Met Council’s CEO, William Rapfogel, is a longtime friend of Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, and his wife, Judy Rapfogel, is Silver’s chief of staff.

* In some cases, the cash supplements extant city services. The civilian patrol groups Shomrim and Shmira will take home $131, 875.

* Chaverim, whose volunteers help those locked out of their cars or homes, are getting $35,000.

* The New York Board of Rabbis and a rabbinical seminary will get $51,000. The Council of African Imams: $5,000.

* $122,500 will go to the powerful Bobov Hasidic sect, money that will go to help members struggling with medical bills and other services.

Estimates vary, but according to 2008 data from the Association of Religious Data Archives, Catholics, at 62%, make up the bulk of the city’s population, followed by Jews at about 22%, Protestants at 10.7% and Muslims 3.5%.

27 rifles stolen from California military base and the ATF didn't tell public for two weeks

26 AK-74 assault rifles, similar to the one shown, were stolen

FORT IRWIN, Calif. More than two dozen assault rifles have been stolen from a Southern California military base, and investigators sought the public's help as they looked to arrest suspects and recover the weapons, federal officials said Friday.

Twenty-six AK-74 assault rifles and one Dragunov sniper rifle were stolen from a supply warehouse at Fort Irwin in San Bernardino County on July 15, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says in a statement.

Some arrests have been made and one rifle has been recovered, but the agency is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to further arrests, the statement said.

"Community participation is necessary to improve the likelihood that ATF and our law enforcement partners will track down the firearms as well as the criminals who have sought to destabilize our community through illegal activity," ATF Special Agent in Charge John A. Torres said in the statement.

ATF spokesman Special Agent Christian Hoffman could not say when reached by phone how many were arrested, whether they were military or civilian or what motive they may have had.

He referred those questions to military officials, who made the arrests. Phone and email messages left late Friday for a spokesman from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command, which is investigating the theft along with the ATF and the FBI, were not immediately returned.

Hoffman also could not say why word of the theft did not become public for two weeks, but said his agency decided to issue a news release because of the potential danger the loose weapons posed.

"We determined that there was a public safety issue with the guns getting out on the street," he said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call (800) 283-4867 or Ft. Irwin at (760) 380-5812. The reward is for information leading to an arrest, officials said.

Orthodox cops: Shomrim funded by taxpayers

New York City should stop funding separate, private police forces for Jews

Earlier this month, a horrified New York City reeled under the news that 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, a Hasidic boy in Brooklyn’s Borough Park, had been abducted on his way home from a nearby day camp and, the next evening, smothered to death and dismembered by his captor, who was also an Orthodox Jew.

The public got a second shock when it learned that Leiby’s disappearance was only belatedly reported to the police, and that a privately run, Orthodox Jewish “patrol” called Shomrim reportedly had video evidence that went unused during the crucial hours before the murder, while untrained Jewish laymen tried to handle the investigation themselves.

And now comes what ought to be shock No. 3: Jewish vigilante groups like Shomrim, unskilled and ill-equipped for police work, and all too often driven by religious proscriptions to keep their community’s crimes out of the public eye, are being paid to interfere with the authorities by New York City taxpayers — through the generous offices of some City Council members.

The council’s just-finalized budget for 2012 includes more than $130,000 in “member item” donations to private Orthodox Jewish pseudo-police — gifts of taxpayer money that were personally authorized by Democratic Brooklyn City Councilmen Lewis Fidler, David Greenfield, Brad Lander and Stephen Levin. Remember that these Jewish patrols operate only in a few Brooklyn neighborhoods and answer to the needs of only one religious community.

Why, then, are city legislators doling out increasingly scarce public funds to help Jewish gendarmes compete with the NYPD?

I am an Orthodox Jew; I am also a lawyer with an extensive record of advocacy for victims of child abuse. And I have a message for politicians who curry favor with Jewish voting blocs by helping to fund their private patrols: Don’t do it.

It’s bad government, and bad law enforcement practice, to share taxpayer money with religion-based groups whose contribution to police work is doubtful at best and whose priorities may well conflict with the law.

Not so long ago, a warning against government funding for vigilantes would have been needless. When Curtis Sliwa founded the Guardian Angels in 1979, New York City officials, including then-Mayor Ed Koch, didn’t want them in New York City at all; those young idealists would have been laughed all the way across the Hudson if they’d had the temerity to ask City Council for handouts.

Does anyone truly believe that Orthodox Jewish vigilantes like the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol, the Williamsburg Safety Patrol and the Shmira Civilian Volunteer Patrol of Borough Park — all of them on the take for budget dollars in 2012 — do the city a better service?

One of the publicly stated purposes of the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol is to deal with “bias crimes.” That’s doubtless a worthy goal, but one hardly expects a patrol run exclusively by a single religious group to be expert in enforcing anti-discrimination laws.

To put it another way: If the Nation of Islam were to set up a private force of Muslims, ostensibly to scour Harlem for “bias crimes,” would City Council members be heaping public money into its coffers?

Orthodox Jewish-run law enforcement is not only an inevitably one-sided affair; there’s considerable evidence that its role can be harmful even to members of its own community. Traditional rabbinic authority — which dominates Orthodox decision-making — remains skeptical of reporting crimes allegedly committed by Jews to the police, even when (as in Leiby Kletzky’s case) the victims are also Jews.

Consider the “Kol Tzedek” program announced, with much fanfare, by Brooklyn prosecutors in April 2009 in conjunction with the Orthodox bulwark Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services agency. According to District Attorney Charles Hynes, the initiative was “aimed at helping sex-crime victims in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish communities report abuse . . . to secular authorities.”

But when Ohel announced the same program in its own promotional newsletter, it carefully excised from the DA’s press release every reference to police, prosecutors or the reporting of crimes — a move that was especially disturbing from an agency dogged for years by allegations of shirking its own obligation to report suspected child abuse.

For its insult to the DA and his stated law enforcement policy, Ohel was rewarded with $900,000 in federal “earmarks” for fiscal year 2010, approved by then-Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Ohel’s oil-and-water attitude toward secular law enforcement is no fluke; at the very moment volunteers were frantically combing Brooklyn for the missing Leiby Kletzky, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, one of America’s most influential Orthodox authorities, emphasized at a conference that child sexual abuse allegedly committed by a Jew must be reported first to a rabbi, who then decides whether police should be contacted.

Rabbi Kamenetsky’s word is law to most of the Brooklyn Orthodox Jews who run patrols like Shomrim. Yet, in many cases, following his directives on child abuse would violate New York’s mandatory reporting statute.

Moreover, if Orthodox patrol members use a threat of force to discourage a Jewish victim from going to the police, based on a similar understanding of rabbinic law, they are violating federal civil rights statutes.

There’s already more than enough evidence that current Orthodox practice is unacceptable under applicable legal standards. New York police have criticized Shomrim groups for failing to notify them of some of the calls their operators receive; in fact, it has been widely reported that the Jewish patrols regularly withhold information on suspected child molesters if they are Jewish.

Death threats, signed by dozens of rabbis, appeared some years ago in a Yiddish Brooklyn newspaper against anyone who “informs” on a fellow Jew to secular authorities. And although an amateur detective from the Bobov Hasidic sect is now being touted as the Sherlock Holmes who ultimately led police to Leiby Kletzky’s killer, leading members of that same community participated in a systematic cover-up of a serious case of alleged child abuse in 2000, involving not only efforts to silence the alleged victim and his family, but even direct lobbying of the District Attorney’s Office, which dropped all charges after a group of rabbis pressured prosecutors with highly questionable “evidence.” (Co-writer Amy Neustein and I documented this in detail in a recent book.)

Despite all this, taxpayer-funded largesse to Jewish patrols is becoming a New York City tradition. In 2009, the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol got itself a lavishly outfitted $250,000 “mobile security command center” with “hefty grants from the City Council and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz,” according to founder Chaim Deutsch. The 22-foot-long vehicle is equipped with a conference room, computers, a fax machine, a color copier and a flat-panel television screen.

Do you like the idea that New York City residents, Jewish and non-Jewish, paid a quarter of a million dollars to give those resources to an organization whose members may have to ask a rabbi before telling police about a possible crime?

I am sure the great majority of people who serve in Orthodox patrols are honest and dedicated folks who do their best to ensure the safety of their communities. But government handouts for groups like Shomrim is one tradition New York would be much better off without.

Michael Lesher is a writer and lawyer, and a contributor to “Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities & Child Sex Scandals,” edited by Amy Neustein (Brandeis University Press).

'Hung up' FDNY muzzles 'birthday rabbi'

Rabbi Mayer Birnhack

He made too many house calls.

A rabbi and EMS chaplain who routinely phoned medics to wish them happy birthday was disciplined by the FDNY for accessing unauthorized personnel data.

Rabbi Mayer Birnhack, aka the "birthday rabbi," was suspended without pay for 15 days after ignoring orders from brass to stop looking at confidential employee files.

Birnhack got the mazel-toss in April after defying repeated instructions not to peek at birth dates, hire dates, retirement dates and other info that he culled so he could make his cheery congratulations calls.

The FDNY has gotten numerous complaints over the years from EMS members who don't appreciate Birnhack's intrusions into their personal lives.

"Nice guy, good intentions . . . but I'm a little uncomfortable with how much personal info he has access to . . . always seems to know more about where your career is in EMS than some of your supervisors," one EMT wrote on an online forum.

But hundreds of others were outraged to learn the FDNY had muzzled the mensch. A Facebook page created last week in his defense got more than 700 members in a matter of days.

"I recall the rabbi calling," one FDNY medic posted. "I thought it was an accident because I am Catholic. He introduced himself and went on to wish me a happy birthday . . . I asked a co-worker about him and everyone proceeded to say that Rabbi Birnhack was one of the few people on the job who actually cared."

Another EMT wrote: "My birthday is in a few weeks. I eagerly anticipate his annual call and kind voice. I know he has my number."

A phone-call campaign to FDNY headquarters and an online petition were also launched.

"Please just let the rabbi go back to doing what he has done so well for so many years," pleaded one EMT.

Birnhack refused to comment when reached at his Gravesend, Brooklyn, home.

The 45-year-old Orthodox rabbi has worked for EMS since 1988, when the Health and Hospitals Corp. ran the city's medical service.

Shortly after EMS merged with the FDNY in 1996, the EMT-trained rabbi was assigned to the counseling unit. He makes $50,433 annually as an EMS chaplain.

In a 2002 article published in a Jewish newspaper, Birnhack claimed a top chief told him he was "too Jewish," and complained that he wasn't allowed to officiate at agency events.

The rabbi declined to officially file a complaint, however, and his claims were never substantiated. The FDNY denied the allegations.

Levi Aron's lawyers say they are defending accused murderer's rights, not actions

Attorneys Jennifer McCann and Pierre Basile, the defense team for Levi Aron, the man accused of killing and dismembering eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky

A former NYPD cop and a young overachiever with a total of only eight years' experience as lawyers are set to defend the city's most despised killer.

The young legal eagles are gearing up for the case of their lives as accused killer Levi Aron is set to appear in Brooklyn Supreme Court Thursday on murder charges for snatching and butchering little Leiby Kletzky.

"It's not about defending his actions," lawyer Jennifer McCann said. "It's about defending his rights."

Aron is accused of murdering the lost 8-year-old three weeks ago, a monstrous crime to which he reportedly confessed. The boy's feet were found in his freezer, and the rest of the carved-up body inside a Dumpster.

The other half of the team, lawyer Pierre Bazile, said the suspect's family asked him to represent Aron. He brought McCann along after his associate Gerard Marrone stepped down.

"I'm taking this case because a family asked me for help," Bazile said. "If you want to be an attorney, you treat the client that's in front of you."

In an hour-long interview with the Daily News, the two Long Island-based lawyers would not directly discuss Aron or divulge how much they're getting paid. Both vowed to see the case through to the end.

They were both admitted to the bar in 2007. Bazile, 40, retired after a 14-year career as a police officer. The 30-year-old McCann graduated from St. John's School of Law on a scholarship.

An earnest Michigan native, she's often mistaken for a paralegal. More than once, she said, when filing court documents, she has been told, "Honey, wait for the lawyer to get here."

McCann has handled a number of murder and other high-profile cases, but the publicity, attention and death threats this case has generated are new for both lawyers.

"It's completely foreign. It's distracting," Bazile said of the media glare. "It's been a little overwhelming."

The lawyers will be pitted against experienced and aggressive prosecutors. District Attorney Charles Hynes has called the murder the most horrific homicide of his 20-year tenure and vowed to seek the maximum penalty of life without parole.

Justice Neil Firetog, who will hear the case, is known as particularly tough on defense lawyers, even fining those who cross him.

Bazile and McCann say they are ready for whatever comes along. "We were able to come up with a very detailed and unique plan," McCann said.

The results of Aron's psychiatric exams are expected to be revealed this week. His defense team intends to have their experts determine if an insanity defense is viable.

They are also expected to ask for a change of venue, arguing the jury pool has been tainted, The News has learned.

Bazile, who claimed at the arraignment that his 35-year-old client hears voices, said he can't believe anyone would commit such a depraved crime "absent some sort of derangement."

The lawyers said they also hope Aron's mental state and a desire to shield Leiby's family from the gory details will persuade prosecutors to consider a deal down the road.

From NYPD to TV: Cop turned reporter Mike Sheehan to star in 'Prime Suspect," NBC's new crime drama

Mike Sheehan

Mike Sheehan's job is murder once again.

The former NYPD detective, who spent 25 years on the force, and another 18 as television reporter for WNYW and WPIX, is now working a beat that combines both worlds.

Sheehan has been drawing on his experience investigating some of the city's most infamous crimes - including the Robert Chambers preppie murder case - to work as a staff writer and consultant on one of NBC's most anticipated fall series.

The show, "Prime Suspect," which debuts on NBC in September, stars Maria Bello, Aidan Quinn and a cast of actors who are "based on guys I knew," Sheehan says.

The crime drama is a reimagining of the hit British series of the same name, which starred Helen Mirren as Scotland Yard detective Jane Tennison.

Peter Berg's Film 44 production company worked with Executive Producer and writer Alexandra Cunningham ("Desperate Housewives," "NYPD Blue") to adapt the premise to N.Y.C., where the pilot and a number of scenes have been shot on location.

Sheehan says a number of the series characters have even been named after his former colleagues.

For instance, the bellissima Bello plays Det. Jane Timoney, an homage to the NYPD's former First Deputy Commissioner John F. Timoney, who was a classmate of Sheehan's at the police academy.

"I ran it past him," says Sheehan. "He laughed."

Like Mirren, Bello plays a no-nonsense detective, and Sheehan says the American version of "Prime Suspect" will be a no-nonsense show.

"This is going to be one of - if not the - most authentic shows about a detective squad that you'll ever see," says Sheehan who, in addition to the Chambers case, worked on John Lennon's murder and investigated New York's zodiac killer.

Those headlines-making crimes won't be replicated on "Prime Suspect," but Sheehan says his experiences informed the writing and some of the story lines.

"Basically, you're going inside my head and I'm telling you how it was," he says about his first full-time foray into TV writing. He has previously worked as a consultant on movies and acted in a few, including "Carlito's Way" and "Rocky V."

To aid with authenticity, Sheehan says he took many of the cast members around to his old Manhattan stomping grounds, and he believes the field trips really paid off.

"There was a night we were shooting. I closed my eyes, and I swear to God I was back at the detectives squad," he says.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rabbi Abuhatzeira killer sent for psychiatric exam

Asher Dahan

Tens of thousands of stunned mourners attend famous rabbi, Baba Sali's grandson's funeral in Jerusalem; PM expresses shock at murder.

The man who stabbed Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira to death at his Beersheba yeshiva late Thursday night ,sending the haredi world into deep shock, has been sent by a court for a psychiatric examination to determine his mental state.

Asher Dahan, from Elad, between Rosh Ha’ayin and Shoham, told police he did “not mean to kill the rabbi.”

Dahan was reportedly upset that a blessing he had received from the 63-year-old religious figure did not materialize, although no clear motive has yet been established by police.

The Beersheba Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning extended Dahan’s custody by 12 days.

Tens of thousands of people attended Abuhatzeira’s funeral in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon, which was secured by hundreds of police officers.

The procession set out from the Porath Yosef yeshiva in the Geula neighborhood, where Abuhatzeira was eulogized by Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and others.

Mourners walked to the Mount of Olives, where Abuhatzeira was laid to rest next to the grave of his father, Rabbi Meir Abuhatzeira.

The slain rabbi was the grandson of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira (1890- 1984), known as the Baba Sali, who was believed by his followers to work miracles and was one of the leaders of the aliya of Moroccan Jews to Israel. Like others in his family, the Baba Elazar, as he was called, was an expert in Kabbala, and people sought his advice and blessing on various matters.

He was known for wearing a cloak whose long hood covered most of his face so he would not see any immodest images of women. He had a tunnel dug between his home and the Beersheba yeshiva he headed.

Abuhatzeira’s funeral was attended by Chief Rabbis Amar and Yona Metzger, as well as by haredi MKs and ministers.

Shas issued a message saying the movement “was in pain and mourning with all Jews over the great loss of the holy tzadik [righteous man].”

Magen David Adom paramedics treated around 30 people who suffered fainting spells and dehydration during the funeral procession.

Three of the mourners were evacuated to Bikur Cholim and Sha’are Zedek hospitals to receive further treatment.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday expressed his shock at the murder.

“The rabbi was a spiritual leader to so many Israelis. He helped them with advice and charity, and very often he did this in secret,” the prime minister said.

Abuhatzeira was attacked by Dahan in Beersheba after the latter entered his study as a visitor. The rabbi was rushed to the city’s Soroka University Medical Center. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him, but he died en route.

The rabbi’s followers took Dahan into their custody and delivered him to police.

Southern police district head Cmdr. Yossi Preinti arrived at the yeshiva to personally oversee the investigation. Police have tasked the Negev subdistrict’s central unit with leading the investigation.

Lawsuit against Pakistan intel agency could be 'disastrous,' says lawyer

A New York lawsuit against Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency could have "disastrous" consequences and fuel instability in a nation vital to America's fight against al-Qaeda terrorists, an attorney argues.

Kevin Walsh, a lawyer representing Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, urged a judge to throw out the lawsuit - filed last year by relatives of New Yorkers murdered in a Hasidic center during the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India.

If the suit against the ISI and several ranking Pakistan intelligence officials is not dismissed, the backlash in Pakistan could undermine American goals in one of the world's most sensitive regions, the attorney said.

"The consequences of this judicial inquiry have the potential to be disastrous," Walsh argued in a letter filed Friday with a federal judge.

"The intrusion of these actions into the politics of Pakistan will fuel violence and extremism, directed against the government the US intends to support," the attorney argues.

The lawsuit, filed last November, also named Lashkar-E-Taiba, a terror group that operates in Kashmir - the disputed territory over which both Pakistan and India claim sovereignty.

It asked for unspecified damages and cites claims that the ISI has worked closely with the Lashkar-E-Taiba group.

But Pakistan has flatly denied these allegations.

The suit was filed by relatives of Gavriel Noah Holtzberg, a rabbi originally from Brooklyn, and his pregnant wife, Rivka, who were gunned down when terrorists stormed the Chabad Lubavitch center in a commando-style attack that also killed the couple’s unborn child.

The Holtzberg’s 2 year-old son survived the attack after being rescued by an employee. He now lives with his grandfather in Israel.

Walsh, a prominent New York attorney, argued that the general public in Pakistan will see the lawsuit not as an action taken by private individuals, but as an official intrusion by Washington into its internal politics and as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

That perception could undermine America's efforts to foster its relationship with Pakistan as part of the US goal of fighting al-Qaeda in neighboring Afghanistan and throughout the region, the attorney says.

"The alliance with Pakistan is an extremely sensitive, important and difficult relationship for the United States," Walsh said.

He's asked Brooklyn federal Judge Dora Irizarry to throw the lawsuit out, emphasizing that any argument with Pakistan should be dealt with by American political institutions - not the US courts - which have no jurisdiction over government agencies in Pakistan.

The judge has not yet ruled on the issue.

Top rabbi fighting to save position

Rabbi Yosef Feldman ... email saying sex abuse allegations should be handled within the Jewish community was not his ''official position''.

A SENIOR Sydney rabbi is refusing to resign from the state's Jewish religious authority over comments he made suggesting that sexual abuse cases should be handled within the community and not by police, claiming they did not represent his ''official'' view.

Rabbi Yosef Feldman, the president of the Rabbinical Council of NSW, has been under pressure to resign after making the comments in a series of emails to fellow rabbis last week.

Last night, his brother, Rabbi Eli Feldman, said that, while he does not deny sending the emails, which were leaked to The Australian Jewish News, the contents ''do not reflect his official position'' and he ''is a strong advocate of police intervention in cases of paedophilia''.

''He was just conjecturing,'' Rabbi Eli Feldman told The Sun-Herald.

The comments by Rabbi Feldman echo an edict given by Pope John Paul II in the 1980s that reports of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy be handled in Rome by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Rabbi Feldman wrote: ''I really don't understand why as soon as something of serious loshon horo [evil talk] is heard about someone of even child molestation should we immediately go to the secular authorities. One must go to a Rov [rabbi] who should firstly investigate the veracity of the complaint and if thought to be serious, warn the culprit etc. and act in a way that could scare him by threatening him with publicity by internet to the whole community.''

He added: ''I personally feel that if we as a Jewish leadership can't deal with this and other issues bifnim [internally] we are showing ourselves to be impotent …''

Rabbi Feldman also suggested that because paedophiles were raped in prison, the people who reported them to the police could be held responsible.

Several rabbis told The Australian Jewish News that Rabbi Feldman's comments did not represent the broader view of the rabbinate and that he should resign from the honorary position.

As of last night, Rabbi Feldman was clinging to his post but a decision had not been made about his future, his brother said.

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence said that he did not believe there was anyone in his congregation who was sympathetic to the views ascribed to Rabbi Feldman.

He said the rabbi's comments were alien to their understanding of Jewish values and of the responsibility of the rabbinate leadership.

Rabbi Lawrence himself resigned from the council following friction between himself and Rabbi Feldman. Asked if he felt Rabbi Feldman should step down he said that it would remove pressure from other rabbis who felt they were unable to be taken seriously within their communities while the council was enmeshed in controversy.

He stressed that there was no suggestion that there had been any abuse in Sydney or that there had been abuse in Sydney that had been concealed.

Rabbi Eli Feldman said his brother was determined to clear his name and that they were considering taking legal action against The Australian Jewish News.

Stranger Danger Video Getting New Attention

A video that was produced for the Orthodox Jewish community about “stranger danger” — BEFORE the kidnapping and murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky — is getting fresh buzz on YouTube.

A group called the Torah Safety Commission produced the video before Leiby was killed, but some of the situations talked about by a child actor and a grandfatherly figure are eerily similar to what happened to the boy from Borough Park. The video shows the boy, who's about Leiby's age, eating cereal in a kitchen, while his grandfather talks to him about the dangers of trusting somebody you don't know.

The boy tells his grandfather on the video lessons he has learned, “Never talk to strangers!” The grandfather says, “Who is a stranger?”--and the boy replies, “Somebody I don't know”. The video instructs children to run, if a stranger tries to help them in the rain, and also shows an adult man on the street asking a boy for directions to a bakery. “Grownups ask other grownups for directions,” the grandfather tells the boy-actor in the kitchen.

In the Leiby Kletzky case on July 11th, it was the 8 year old boy — a week shy of his 9th birthday — who asked a 35-year-old man, Levi Aron, for directions — when the boy got lost on the way to meet his mother in Borough Park. Aron is charged with kidnapping the 8-year-old and taking him to his attic apartment, where he drugged, smothered and dismembered the child, saying he panicked over the media attention given to the boy's disappearance.

Leiby Kletzky was a member of a Hasidic Jewish community in Borough Park, and now, PIX 11 has learned that another Hasidic community — the Lubavitcher movement in Crown Heights — was taking special steps to protect its young people from abuse the night before young Kletzky was kidnapped.

The Beth Din of Crown Heights — a rabbinical court in the Lubavitcher community - -issued a ruling on Sunday, July 10th, that child sex abuse, referred to as CSA in its letter, needed to be addressed by civil authorities.

Here's part of what the letter said: “The severe prohibitions of mesirah (reporting crimes to the police)….do not apply in cases where there is evidence of abuse.”

“The Lubavitch is the first community to do this, the first Jewish community,” said 18-year-old Mordechai Feinstein to PIX 11. Feinstein told us he met with the rabbinical court in Crown Heights before it issued the ruling, to complain about a self-styled rabbi, Moshe Keller, who was suspected of abusing numerous teenagers who sought guidance from him. Keller was charged this week with attempted sexual abuse of a 15-year-old, three years ago. Feinstein told us that 15-year-old was him. “He used to talk to me about pornography, masturbation,” Feinstein told PIX 11 Friday. “He put his hands in my pubic area. I said what kind of rabbi does this?”

Feinstein said he was afraid to say anything for several years, because Keller helped him get into schools and fed him when he had trouble at home. “The person pushing me to be religious….that same guy was trying to molest me,” Feinstein said.

It turns out Keller's 17-year-old son had died five years ago, and Keller named a foundation in his honor, ostensibly to help at-risk adolescents. Feinstein remarked to PIX 11, “It's sick how he names an organization after his son and uses that organization to betray little kids.”

Advocates for children say the push to teach them about stranger danger — and the potential dangers they even face from people they know — will increase, in the aftermath of Leiby Kletzky's death. Assemlyman Dov Hikind told PIX 11 Friday, “When I started talking about this three years ago, people were infuriated with me.” Hikind said many more videos will be produced and urged parents, “ If your child is sexually abused, you must take action.”

'One Glove Bandit' makes another slick hit at Queens bank, FBI offering reward

Friday morning a Chase Bank in Flushing, New York was robbed at gunpoint by a thug cops dubbed the "One Glove Bandit.

An armed bank robber who investigators have dubbed the "One Glove Bandit" knocked over a Queens bank Friday, the FBI said.

Clad in a Yankees cap and flashing a pistol, the bandit who is too slick for a second glove robbed a JPMorgan Chase bank on Main St. in Flushing about 9 a.m. He fled on foot with "a large amount of money," the FBI said.

It was his third heist.

In his previous heists, the bandit has hit the same Signature Bank on Broadway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the FBI said.

The robberies were on May 6 and July 1. Both times he wore a glove on only one of his hands - à la the late Michael Jackson.

Surveillance camera footage from yesterday's heist shows the bandit (photo) is a dark-skinned Latino, the FBI said. He is believed to be in his 30s, about 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds. He has light facial hair, the FBI said.

In yesterday's robbery, the bandit donned sunglasses and matched his blue Yankees hat to a blue-and-black plaid shirt.

The FBI is offering "a significant reward" for information leading to his capture. Call (212) 384-1000. All callers will remain anonymous.

Al Pacino's daughter, Julie, busted for DWI in Manhattan Saturday morning

Julie Pacino, seen her with her famous father

Actor Al Pacino's 21-year-old daughter was busted for driving while drunk and stoned in Manhattan early Saturday, authorities said.

Julie Pacino told cops she downed three beers and "smoked weed at home" after her 2009 black Mercedes-Benz was stopped at a police checkpoint on West Houston St. near Washington St. about 1:20 a.m., prosecutors said.

"Yes I was drinking," Pacino told cops, according to prosecutors. "I had about three beers and I smoked weed at home. That was a few hours ago."

She was questioned at the West Side checkpoint after cops noticed her California license plate had expired. A male passenger was in the car, sources said.

Pacino had "watery and bloodshot eyes," "slurred speech" and reeked of booze, prosecutors said.

Her blood alcohol level was .12, well above the legal limit of .08, court papers show.

The aspiring filmmaker was hit with a slew of charges, including driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs and alcohol, prosecutors said.

Pacino appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court early Saturday evening wearing a white top, a blue knee-length skirt and flip flops.

She didn't say a word as a judge ordered her released without bail.

Outside the courthouse, Pacino, who had her license suspended, ignored reporters' questions.

"She doesn't have anything to say right now," her lawyer, Bruce Kage, said.

Pacino's mother, Jan Tarrant, was her famous dad's acting coach. In 2009, Julie Pacino wrote and directed a film called "Abracadabra." She is currently working on a movie called, "Billy Bates."

A representative for Al Pacino said he was not immediately available for comment.

Crime boss Francois Abutbul gunned down

Francois Abutbul & Scene of the crime

Underworld figure shot to death in Coastal Highway gas station; gunman escapes. Police: Evidence point to professional hit

Israeli underworld figure Francois Abutbul was gunned down late Saturday night, in a Coastal Highway gas station.

Police officials said that it appears that the gunman, riding a motorcycle, approached the driver's side of the vehicle, which had stopped by one of the gas pumps, opened fire and then fled the scene.

Abutbul suffered mortal gunshot wounds. Magen David Adom emergency services rushed him the Laniado Hospital in Netanya where doctors fought to save his life, but to no avail.

One of Abutbul's bodyguards was in the car with him at the time of the shooting and sustained mild injuries. Abutbul received many death threats in the past and was known to always have bodyguards with him.

Large police forces arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting, including Netanya Police Commander Maj.-Gen. Ami Eshed, and several forensics teams.

A police source told Ynet that "the fact that only Abutbul was killed indicates that this was a targeted assassination, carried out by a professional." He added that a large number of shell casings was recovered from the scene.

The Abutbul crime family is no stranger to assassination attempts. Francois Abutbul's father, Felix, was gunned down outside a Prague casino in 2002.

The International Fraud Unit will head the investigation into Abutbul's murder.
פרנסואה אבוטבול נורה בעת ששהה ברכבו בתחנת דלק חבצלת השרון. הוא נפצע אנושות ומת לאחר זמן קצר בבית החולים לניאדו בנתניה

העבריין פרנסואה אבוטבול נורה הלילה (ראשון) למוות בעת ששהה ברכבו בתחנת דלק בחבצלת השרון. אבוטבול נפגע אנושות כתוצאה מהירי ופונה על ידי צוות מד"א לבית החולים לניאדו בנתניה שם מת לאחר זמן קצר מפצעיו.

לזירת האירוע הגיעו עשרות שוטרי יחב"ל, מפקד מרחב שרון, תנ"צ שמעון שומרוני ומפקד תחנת נתניה, נצ"מ עמיחי אשד. שלומי חן אחד ממאבטחיו של פרנסואה אבוטבול שהיה אמור לפגוש אותו אמר כי ניסה להשיג את אבוטבול בטלפון ללא הצלחה והבין כי משהו רע קרה. לדבריו, פרנסואה לא הרגיש מאוים באופן מיוחד לאחרונה

אבוטבול שוחרר בדצמבר האחרון מכלא איילון בתום ריצוי 22 חודשי מאסר לאחר שהורשע בתקיפת אשתו. הוא שוחרר בשעת בוקר מוקדמת מאוד, בשל חשש מפגיעה בו על ידי גורמים עבריינים. אבוטבול הוזהר אז על ידי המשטרה כי יש חשש לחייו וגורמים עברייניים אף התריעו בפניו שכדאי שיעזוב את הארץ תוך חודש ימים מיום שחרורו.

בספטמבר אותה שנה אירע ניסיון התנקשות בחבר אחר במשפחה - צ'רלי אבוטבול. יריות נפתחו לעבר רכבו של אבוטבול סמוך למלון כרמל בנתניה, אולם איש לא נפגע באירוע, ולא נגרם נזק. איש העסקים אייל סופר נעצר בחשד כי הוא עמד מאחורי ניסיון ההתנקשות

אביו של אבוטבול, פליקס אבוטבול נרצח באוגוסט 2002 בפתח הקזינו שלו בפראג. אבוטבול נרצח ביריות והיורים נמלטו מהמקום. אבוטבול, בן 51, היה בעל עסקי הימורים בארץ וכונה "מלך ההימורים של נתניה", הוא נחשב לאחד היעדים המודיעיניים של משטרת ישראל. בפרק האחרון של חייו נודע כמי שממדר מאוד את הסובבים אותו, מתרחק מתקשורת ומנסה לשמור על חזות של איש עסקים

Friday, July 29, 2011

Shyne Abstaining from Sex and Foul Language

*Rapper Shyne announced that he’s working on two albums for the coming year. Oh, and in the mean time, he’s going Orthodox — giving up sex and profanity.

Shyne will be teaming with another Jewish rapper, Matisyahu, who has become a close friend since taking up residency in Israel.

“I’d say he was someone that I’d be there for anything he needs, and he has expressed the same for me,” Matisyahu told the Jewish Chronicle.

On his next album, Shyne, whose real name is Jamal Barrow, promises it will reflect his new love for Judaism and will be profanity free and his videos will no longer feature barely dressed women.

“You know what? You know how much I love women, I’m going to be shomer habris [abstain from sex until marriage] until this record comes out,” Shyne told The Jewish Chronicle.

The first of the two albums will be called “Messiah” while the second will be titled “Gangland.”

Gambino crime family picks Brooklyn wiseguy as new boss

Domenico Cefalu

The Gambino crime family has picked a new boss -- 64-year-old Domenico Cefalu of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, according to a new report.

Cefalu twice served time -- six years for a 1982 heroin smuggling conviction and 20 months for a 2008 extortion charge -- and became a made man when John Gotti ran the family, Gang Land News reported.

Cefalu is known as a "stand-up wiseguy who would never flip," Gang Land reported.

His day job is as a salesman for a local bakery.

Isabeli Fontana stars in Donna Karan ads; Brazilian model dating Lauryn Hill's ex Rohan Marley

Isabeli Fontana by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin for Donna Karan

Model Isabeli Fontana has a new gig, besides being blamed for coming between singer Lauryn Hill and her children's father, Rohan Marley.

The Brazilian model stars in a commercial for Donna Karan's fall/winter collection.

The ad, shot by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, shows Fontana as a New York woman on the move, who juggles everything from picking up her child at kindergarten, attending a ritzy gala and making a dramatic appearance in a courtroom.

Fontana, who has made a name for herself in Mango, Dolce & Gabbana and Escada campaigns, recently found herself making headlines for her relationship with Marley.

She recently posted a photo of herself and Marley and tweeted she was "in love with @Romarley's heart."

Marley, who has five children with Hill, didn't deny the growing relationship with Fontana.

Hill, who recently gave birth to another child, dismissed rumors that Marley abandoned her.

She said Marley was not the father of her most recent child and that the two have a "long and complex history."

Body of Missing American Surfer Found

Daniel Bobis surfing in Long Beach.

JAKARTA -- The body of Daniel Bobis, the surfer from Long Beach who disappeared in large swells off western Indonesia over the weekend, was found dead Thursday.

"We can confirm that his body was found today. We are still waiting for a full report on how he was found," an Indonesian search and rescue official said.

Fishermen found the body of Bobis, a 32-year-old teacher, Thursday morning in the waters off Sumatra island, according to the state-run Antara news agency.

The body was taken to a hospital for autopsy.

Chabad Rabbi Eli Goodman, director of the local BACH Jewish Center, had presided over an impromptu beachside memorial service Sunday not far from where Bobis first learned how to surf. His office said that he was comforting family members during this difficult time.

Expanding network of security cameras is valuable crimefighting tool, NYPD Commissioner Kelly says

A look inside the NYPD's command center

The city's top cop said Thursday the ever-expanding network of security cameras monitoring Manhattan streets and subways has played a key role in scores of recent arrests.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the so-called Ring of Steel technology has helped cops nab about 100 criminals in the subways in the past eight months alone.

Most of those bandits were collared for assault, purse-snatching and robbery. In one case, cops used aboveground cameras to retrace the steps of a suspect in a sexual assault as he walked from the crime scene back to his job, Kelly said.

The NYPD developed the Ring of Steel following 9/11, hoping it would become an important crimefighting tool, particularly in the battle against terrorism.

Since then, by adding cameras from businesses to the program, the fledgling system has been expanded greatly.

"The structure is in place to significantly increase the number of cameras at the right spots," Kelly said yesterday before cops led reporters on a tour of the system's command center in lower Manhattan.

The network was originally intended to run south from Canal St. and also cover midtown from river to river between 30th and 60th Sts.

Right now, there are about 1,800 closed-circuit cameras in place, divided equally between midtown and downtown.

When the system is completed, it will feature as many as 3,000 cameras, Kelly said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority joined the program last summer, adding 590 cameras throughout the subway system.

The high-tech network cost about $200million, with the city contributing $8 million and the federal Department of Homeland Security footing the rest of the bill.

It has also proven effective in tracking down people who mistakenly leave a bag on a sidewalk - normally innocent moments of forgetfulness that must be treated seriously because of the terrorism threat, Kelly said.

The command center, perched in a skyscraper's penthouse, has a 40-foot-tall wall of television screens showing camera footage. In an adjacent area, there is a command center for monitoring radiation detectors from throughout the city.

Kelly said video footage will automatically be deleted unless it relates to a specific investigation.

Who Would Defend Accused Killer Levi Aron? She Would

attorney Jennifer McCann

NEW YORK (PIX11)— A week ago today, attorney Gerard Marrone backed out of the defense team for Levi Aron, the man accused of murdering and dismembering 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky. Marrone said the allegations were too "horrific" for him to stay on.

With Marrone walking away, the defense team has received a boost with the addition with a heavy-hitting Long Island attorney Jennifer McCann. PIX 11 News sat down with McCann for this conversation.

PIX11: This could not have been an easy case for you to take on.

Jennifer McCann: This is a difficult case for anyone to decide to be involved in. It was not necessarily and easy decision but one that I still remembered that no matter who the defendant is.. has the right to his constitutional rights.

PIX11: How do you handle something like this? you're going to look at pictures of an 8-year-old kid who was chopped up.

McCann: It never gets easy, and if any defense counsel ever tells you it doesn't bother them... they're not telling you the truth. Of course it bothers me and of course there are nights I sit up thinking about this and can't sleep because it is a horrible crime, but my question is: what can I do to resolve this case?

PIX11: Are you taking this case pro bono? Can [Levi Aron] pay for his defense?

McCann: He cannot pay for his defense, it looks like we will take this pro bono.

PIX11: But the recognition and respect you get in the legal community for taking a case like this..?

McCann: It would not be recognition or respect. Even my own colleagues have looked down on me for taking such and egregious, egregious case.

PIX11: What kind of threats have you been getting?

McCann: I've had tremendous amount of very nasty responses. People calling me every name in the book.

PIX11: By phone, email?

McCann: Phone and email.

PIX11: Has this put a strain on any of your relationships whether friends or family?

McCann: No, they've been incredibly supportive. They've been dealing with me dealing with these types of cases for a number of years now. Although usually it's not on this big of a press magnitude, they've been very supportive with me dealing with murder cases and very heavy hitting cases for a while.

MURDER !!! Asher Dahan stabbed Rabbi Abuhatzeira to death

MURDER Asher Dahan

According to an initial investigation, the rabbi received the suspect for a conversation, during which he was stabbed for an unknown reason. The rabbi's students captured the stabber and handed him over to the police.

According to police sources, the suspect – who was granted a private audience – stabbed the rabbi in his upper body, inflicting lethal wounds. The man, identified as Asher Dahan, 42, from the central community of Elad, was said to have been unhappy with the rabbi's advice on marital issues.

The Beersheba Magistrate's Court extended Dahan's remand by 13 days on Friday and ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

The investigation also revealed that the suspect had arrived at the yeshiva to consult the rabbi several times, and therefore was well familiar with the place.

Dahan's lawyer, Attorney Yuval Livadaro of the Public Defender's Office, said after the court session that "the suspect said he hadn't hoped for this result and is very sorry for what happened
הרצח המזעזע של רבי אלעזר אבוחצירה זצ"ל – היכה את העולם היהודי בהלם.

הרוצח הנתעב, אשר דהן, בן 42, תושב הדרום לשעבר שחזר בתשובה ועבר לגור באלעד.

לפי תושבים באלעד האיש נודע כבר בעבר כאדם אלים ומעורער בנפשו.

לדברי מכריו הוא מטופל כבר היום בתרופות פסיכיאטריות.

יצויין כי שעה קלה לאחר שהתפרסמה זהות החשוד ברצח, התאספו המונים בסמוך לביתו שבאלעד. בני משפחתו ששהו בבית, נמלטו דרך היציאה האחורית, בדרכם למקום מסתור

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira stabbed to death in Be'er Sheva

Crime scene where Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira was murdered And People gathering outside the home of Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira after he was murdered, July 29, 2011.

The 70-year-old rabbi was a popular kabbalist and grandson of the Baba Sali; police arrest suspect.

Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira was stabbed to death on Thursday night in Be'er Sheva while he was hosting guests for consultation at a yeshiva near his home.

Police said they received a report of the rabbi's wounds shortly after midnight. He died within hours, early Friday morning, at Soroka Medical Center, Be’er Sheva.

The 70-year-old rabbi was a popular kabbalist and grandson of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali, whom his followers consider a sage who was able to work miracles through his prayers.

Following his death, hundreds of people gathered outside his home and cried.

Police arrested a suspect following the stabbing. People close to the rabbi said the suspect frequently visited Abuhatzeira to receive blessings and advice. Witnesses said the suspect entered the room with a knife and stabbed him numerous times in his chest.

Shas Chairman MK Eli Yishai arrived at the crime scene and expressed great sorrow. "This is a great loss. We are all shocked," he said.

"The rabbi was a righteous person. This is a great loss," said City Council Member Yaakov Ohayon. "We are shocked. The Jewish people have lost one of their supporting pillars. The rabbi was murdered while he was giving advice and guidance to people in need of his help. He has thousands of Hassidic followers and he is one of the greatest rabbis in the world," he added.

Facebook: Holocaust denial pages can stay on site

Facebook has refused to remove pages where internet users espouse Holocaust denial despite a plea from a group of Holocaust survivors.

Earlier this month 21 survivors of Nazi persecution signed a letter which was sent to Facebook, asking that Holocaust denial no longer be allowed as part of facebook's "free speech" policy.

The signatories described pages where users openly questioned what the Nazis did as "shameless, cynical and hateful propaganda".

The letter said: "As individuals who are both victims of and witnesses to the truth of the horrors and hate of that time period, we are deeply hurt and offended by your policy that protects Holocaust denial as speech.

"Above all else, Holocaust denial, in any form, is a desecration of our suffering the suffering and martyrdom of our murdered parents, brothers and sisters."

They said allowing such hate-propaganda on the social networking site enabled Holocaust deniers to preach their inherent message of lies and hate and called on Facebook "to live up to its moral and social responsibilities".

They said that if Facebook – founded by Jewish Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 - did not take action, it would be "exposing the public and, in particular, youth to the antisemitism which fueled the Holocaust.

"Please correct this terrible error in judgment before our generation passes away."

However Facebook, who have previously been reluctant to challenge anti-Israel pages on the site, said they would not fulfil the request.

"We think it's important to maintain consistency in our policies, which don't generally prohibit people from making statements about historical events," said a Facebook spokesman. "No matter how ignorant the statement or how awful the event."

Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira - Baba Sali’s Grandson Murdered

Rabbi Elazar Abu Chatzeira

Jerusalem - Rabbi Elazar Abu Chatzeira of Beer Sheva, the grandson of the Baba Sali, was killed tonight after being stabbed in the heart by a visitor known to him who ostensibly came for a bracha.

Details are still emerging about this terrible event.
Rabbi Abu Chatzeira had a reputation as a tzaddik and was known to be a mekubal who brought great yeshuos to many people. Many Israeli politicians and businessman were known to consult with him often and ask his advice. The Rabbi was also considered by some as controversial.

According to Israeli media reports the man who stabbed the rabbi has been identified as Asher Dahan from Ashdod and is under arrest.

Rav Elazar was the grandson of the Baba Sali ZATZAL, and was known as the “Baba Elazar”. He was known for his Shmiras Einayim, and always had his face covered with the “Glima”. He also was very against any photos taken of him, and therefore there are not many available.

One of his brothers is Rav Dovid Abuchatzeira Shlita of Nahariya.

He was reportedly 70 years old.

Levaya details will be published when they are available to us.

Boruch Dayan Emmes…


Beersheba: Rabbi stabbed to death

Prominent religious figure succumbs to multiple stab wounds; police arrest

A prominent rabbi was found stabbed Thursday night in his Beersheba yeshiva.

Magen David Adom emergency services were called to the scene and began resuscitation efforts, before rushing the 70-year-old to the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.

Unfortunately, doctors had no choice but to pronounce him dead on arrival.

Local residents who frequent the yeshiva gathered at the scene, shocked by the news.

The police have launched an investigation and are said to have a suspect in custody.

The circumstances of the crime are unclear at this time, but initial details suggest that the rabbi was stabbed while receiving an audience in the yeshiva
זעזוע עמוק: ה"בבא אלעזר" נרצח; נדקר 4 פעמים בליבו

דרמה בבאר שבע: הבאבא רבי אלעזר אבוחצירה נדקר הלילה בליבו. לפי הדיווחים, הבבא אלעזר נפטר מפצעיו. בבאר שבע מדווחים כי בשעת לילה מאוחרת נכנס עבריין לחדרו בשעת קבלת הקהל בכדי להתברך, ודקר בסכין את הרב בליבו 4 פעמים. בשנה שעברה, ניסה עבריין לתקוף את הרב

דרמה בבאר שבע: הבאבא רבי אלעזר אבוחצירה נדקר בליבו. לפי הדיווחים, הרב נפטר מפצעיו.

בבאר שבע מדווחים, כי בשעת לילה מאוחרת נכנס עבריין לחדרו בשעת קבלת הקהל בכדי להתברך, ודקר בסכין את הרב בליבו.

דיווחים אחרים מספרים, כי הדוקר נחשב למקורב לבית. מכל מקום, הדיווחים מהמקום מעורפלים, ולפי דיווחים אחדים, הדוקר טרם נתפס ומתנהל אחריו מצוד כעת.

הבאבא אלעזר הינו נכדו של הסידנא באבא סאלי, ונחשב למקובל צדיק הפועל ישועות שרבים מאנשי העסקים והפוליטיקאים הבכירים בישראל מצטופפים בצילו ושועים לעצותיו.
הרב אלעזר אבוחצירא נדקר הלילה (שישי) במרכז לימודים תורני בבאר שבע ונפטר מפצעיו למרות מאמצי ההחייאה. המשטרה פתחה בחקירת נסיבות הדקירה ועצרה חשוד במעשה. בני משפחתו של הרב, אשר מתגוררים בסמוך לישיבה, שרויים בהלם.

מחקירה ראשונית עולה כי סמוך לשעה חצות במהלך קבלת קהל בישיבה של הרב בבאר שבע התפרץ לחדרו אדם, ככל הנראה מעורער בנפשו, ודקר אותו מספר פעמים. הדוקר ניסה להימלט ונלכד על ידי אזרחים שהיו במקום והעבירו אותו לידי המשטרה. צוות מד"א שהגיע למקום החל לבצע ברב פעולות החייאה תוך שהוא מעביר אותו לבית החולים סורוקה, שם נמשכו מאמצי ההחייאה שבסופם נאלצו הרופאים לקבוע את מותו. במקום נאספו אנשים רבים שהגיעו להתאבל על מותו של הרב.

איש זק"א שגר בסמוך סיפר לוואלה! חדשות כי הוא שמע זעקות ורץ מהר לראות מה קרה: "ראיתי שהעלו בן אדם על מכונית ומיד אחר כך הגיע המשטרה ועצרה אותו. אחר כך סיפרו לי שהרב נדקר בתוך מבנה הישיבה. אני לא הצלחתי להבין בדיוק מה קרה, הגיע לכאן צוות של מד"א ואנשים התחילו לטפל בו
Baba Sali’s Grandson Murdered

Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, the grandson of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira (also known as the “Baba Sali”), was stabbed to death in Be’er Sheva late Thursday night.

According to reports, the rabbi, who was known as the “Baba Elazar,” was stabbed in a yeshiva in the city. He was critically wounded and was taken by Magen David Adom paramedics to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva, where he died shortly after arrival.

The Baba Elazar was 70 years old.

Channel 10 News reported that the police have arrested a suspect in connection with the stabbing. Though investigations are still under way, police reportedly believe the motive for the murder is criminal.

Two years ago, a man was arrested on suspicion of planning to stab the rabbi. At the time, the rabbi refused to file a complaint with the police, but his associates filed a complaint in his name.

Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira’s grandfather, the Baba Sali, was a Jewish Moroccan rabbi who was revered to have mystic healing powers.

The Baba Sali lived a spartan life devoid of material interests, often fasting and praying throughout the day. He was also one of the main leaders of the immigration to Israel and helped bring nearly the entire Jewish community from Morocco to live in the Holy Land.

His home in Netivot was a site for pilgrimages of people seeking his blessing and advice during his lifetime and more than 100,000 people attended his funeral in 1984; since that time, his tomb has become a shrine for pilgrims and petitioners who come often to pray for assistance and intervention in their daily troubles. Many bring their three-year-old sons to his tomb for the traditional "chalaka", i.e. first hair-cutting.
הרב המקובל רבי אלעזר אבוחצירא זצ"ל, המכונה 'באבא אלעזר', הותקף הערב בתוך בניין ישיבתו שברחוב העליה בבאר-שבע

ככל הידוע, המתנקש, אשר דהן, נכנס אל הרב, כביכול לברכה אך ניצל את ההזדמנות ודקר את הרב בליבו ארבע פעמים.

הרב נפגע אנושות ופונה במצב קריטי לבית החולים סורוקה בבאר-שבע, הרופאים נלחמו על חייו - אך לאחר זמן קצר קבעו את מותו.

החשוד נלכד ונלקח לחקירה בידי משטרת באר-שבע. הוא בשנות השישים לחייו, סיים לאחרונה לרצות עונש 5 שנות מאסר לאחר שהתחזה לרב ואנס מספר נערות. מתגורר ברחוב שמעון הצדיק באלעד

מפקד מחוז דרום במשטרה ניצב יוסי פריינטי הגיע לזירת האירוע, ומקבל עדכונים על האירוע מגורמים נוספים בפיקוד.

כל הידוע, אין זה ניסיון ההתנקשות הראשון ברב: בנובמבר 2009 נעצר בבאר שבע צעיר תושב העיר בחשד שהתכוון לדקור את הרב.

אך הניסיון הזה לא צלח. מאבטח שהוצב בפתח ביתו של הרב גילה את הסכין - והוא נעצר. ייתכן ויש קשר בין המקרים.

שעה קלה לאחר הרצח הודיע המשטרה כי תדרוש את נתיחת הגופה. נציגי זק"א פועלים מול הגורמים הרלוונטים בכדי למנוע את נתיחת גופתו של הצדיק. ואכן המאצים נשאו פרי ומפקד מחוז הדרום הודיע כי הגופה לא תנותח.

בן של קדושים

האדמו"ר רבי אלעזר אבוחצירא זצ"ל נולד לאביו האדמו"ר רבי מאיר אבוחצירא זצ"ל, בנו של ה'באבא סאלי זצ"ל.

כל חייו הסתתר בחדרו בשכונה ה' שבבאר שבע שם קיבל אלפי אנשים לעצה וברכה. אלפים נהרו לביתו בבאר שבע, סעודות כיד המלך 24 שעות היו ניתנים לבאים אליו.

נודע בזכות הקפדתו היתירה על שמירת העיניים ןהתנזרות מוחלטת מהעולם הזה.

אחיו הם האדמו"רים רבי דוד מנהריה, רבי יקותיאל, רבי רפאל מאשדוד ורבי ישועה ורחמים. גיסו הוא הרב חיים פינטו - רבה של אשדוד וקרית מלאכי

Police have arrested Asher Dahan as the suspected killer. He was reportedly apprehended by family members in the seconds following the murder. Interior Minister Eli Yishai is reportedly at the hospital, and ZAKA announced that police will not do any autopsy.

Spring Valley judge adds mediation to a criminal case involving a water balloon incident

Sherry Scott (L) with others who claim they were assaulted

SPRING VALLEY — A village justice wants mediation for two Orthodox Jewish men and a black family following a religious neighborhood group's response to a water balloon-throwing incident in June.

As the criminal case moves forward, Justice Alan Simon set up a three-member panel for the two sides to air their differences and make peace. Simon said he wanted to use the mediation process as a step toward trying to "establish peace in our neighborhoods."

"We have a lot of misunderstandings because they don't understand each other," Simon said. "They don't really know each other."

District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said he's all for getting different ethnic and religious groups or neighbors talking, but the justice can't set up mediation without all sides involved.

"Without the victims there is no mediation," Zugibe said. "At the current time the matter will proceed in justice court."

Sherry Scott, the Spring Valley village clerk, declined to get involved in mediation Thursday in court. Prosecutor Eric Holzer told Simon he would not get involved.

Because of Scott's involvement, Simon said the prosecution would take place outside Spring Valley. He adjourned the case to Aug. 25.

Scott's daughter hit a van with a water balloon just before 11 p.m. June 15. The driver called the Chaverim, a Jewish group that responds to emergencies and helps members of the community.

Up to 50 Chaverim members descended on a Fletcher Road apartment building. Before Spring Valley police arrived, the van driver chased the 11-year-old girl, who was protected by a 17-year-old male relative, police said.

Chaverim members confronted the girl, her brother and Scott, and punches were thrown, police said.

Scott said she was bruised when one of the men knocked her against the wall. She said the men wouldn't let her child and relative into the building and pushed and hit her grandson.

Morris Jacobowitz, 32, of Spring Valley was arrested on a charge of second-degree reckless endangerment, and Solomon E. Simkowitz of Wesley Hills on charges of second-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree harassment.

When Chaverim members and religious leaders complained that the Scott family and others were the aggressors, police interviewed those who responded as well as the family. No one else has been charged.

Jacobowitz and Simkowitz pleaded not guilty through their lawyer, Kenneth Gribetz, who said mediation was a good idea in this case.

Issues also were raised as to whether Gribetz could represent both men at trial without a conflict of interest. The issue could arise if either man testifies, possibly against the other's interest. Gribetz said no conflict existed.

The incident highlighted growing tensions between the black and Orthodox Jewish-Hasidic communities, partly as a result of public school issues.

The Rockland Human Rights Commission is conducting separate mediation efforts with representatives of both communities. County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef said he requested the agency's intervention because of tensions in Ramapo.

Simon appointed a panel to get talks going. The panelists — a businessman, Spring Valley NAACP President Willie Trotman and a pastor — met with the two defendants and Gribetz.

Wilbur Aldridge, regional leader for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said outside the courtroom that he agreed tensions are high among diverse groups in Rockland County, including blacks and Hasidic Jews.

Aldridge said he didn't understand Simon's mediation attempt in the middle of a criminal case.

Former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu found dead in his California home

New York Yankees' Hideki Irabu during the first inning of game against the New York Mets.

Former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu, a hard-throwing righthander touted as a superstar when he arrived in New York from Japan, was found dead in his Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. home Thursday, according to the team.

He was 42.

Multiple reports indicate that police are investigating the death as a suicide, although those reports were unconfirmed as of Thursday afternoon.

Irabu had been arrested twice in the past three years, once for drunk driving in California and another time for assaulting a bartender in Japan.

He was 34-35 with a 5.74 ERA in his major league career, which lasted from 1997-2002. He won two World Series rings with the Yankees, in 1998 and 1999, and never had a losing team with the Bombers. He was 29-20 in three seasons in New York. He also played for the Expos and Rangers.

Irabu began his professional baseball career in 1988 in the Nippon Baseball League in Japan. In 1997, Irabu grabbed headlines when the Padres purchased his rights from the Chiba Lotte Marines, and was considered one of Japan's top pitchers.

Irabu, however, refused to sign with the Padres, saying he would only play for the Yankees. The Padres and Yankees eventually made a trade to grant New York rights to the Japanese pitcher, and Irabu was signed to a four-year, $12.8 million contract. He had established himself in Japan after recording the highest velocity (98 mph) on his fastball in Nippon League history.

Bobby Valentine, who managed Irabu in Japan, at the time said prophetically: "I'm glad he signed, but boy, I don't think it's gonna be good for the young lad. It's not a good situation. I just have a feeling."

Irabu struck out nine Detroit Tigers over 6 2/3 innings in his major league debut, but his career in the United States went downhill, for the most part, from there. On April Fools' Day 1999, after failing to cover first base in a spring training game on a ground ball to the right side of the infield, Steinbrenner famously called him a "fat pussy toad."

Brothers Arrested After Beating American Airlines Pilot Before Horrified Passengers

Brothers Luis and Jonathan Baez

MIAMI, FL - Two brothers were arrested at Miami International Airport after they violently assaulted a pilot and punched a female flight attendant, police said.

Jonathan and Luis Baez, from Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, boarded an SFO-bound American Airlines flight Wednesday night, and the trouble began when 27-year-old Jonathan fell asleep with his seat belt unbuckled before takeoff.

Flight attendants were unable to rouse him and suspected he was extremely intoxicated, forcing the pilot to stop taxiing and return to the airport.

When Baez finally came to, the brothers were informed they were being kicked off the plane. As Jonathan staggered down the aisle with his brother, witnesses said, the two began swearing at the pilot and flight attendants.

"When you fly to San Juan, I will have you killed," one of the brothers yelled at the pilot, according to police.

The belligerent brothers finally exited the plane, but Jonathan then turned around and rushed the pilot, punching him in the face, cops said. When a female attendant tried to step in, he socked her as well, police said.

His brother jumped in and the two thugs repeatedly struck the pilot, who managed to escape and run into the terminal, according to a police report. The brothers gave chase, but were tackled and restrained by passengers and crew, according to the report.

The pilot was left bruised and bloody, one witness told KTVU in San Francisco.

Both brothers face charges of aggravated battery, and Luis Baez also faces aggravated assault charges

Monroe, NY - Police: $1.5M Drug Bust In Orange County

Matthew Fishman

A traffic violation led to the discovery of 300 marijuana plants, two pounds of cultivated marijuana and charges against a New City man in connection with an Orange County marijuana growing operation, according to State Police.

Police said Matthew Fishman, 31, of Brewery Road, New City, is charged today with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a felony, and unlawful growing of marijuana, a misdemeanor, as a result of the investigation.

Fishman was stopped by state troopers based in Monroe for a traffic violation about 3 a.m. today on Seven Springs Road in the Town of Woodbury in Orange County. When troopers were checking the U-Haul truck he was driving, they detected a strong odor of marijuana.

Police said a search of the cargo compartment resulted in the seizure of 97 marijuana plants. As a result of Fishman's arrest, police said information was obtained that led to a search warrant being executed at 427 County Route 105 in the Town of Monroe in Orange County.

The search warrant, conducted by the members of State Police in Monroe and the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, led to the seizure of an additional 296 marijuana plants and about two pounds of cultivated marijuana.

Fishman was being held by State Police pending arraignment.

Ex- Secret Service busted on gun rap at La Guardia

A former Secret Service agent was busted trying to bring an illegal gun onto a flight at La Guardia, The Post has learned.

Carlos Martinez Jr., 40, who once served in the agency's San Juan, PR, bureau, told an agent at the American Airlines check-in counter last Thursday that he wanted to declare an unloaded 9 mm Luger in a lockbox, according to court documents.

Port Authority cops were called to verify that Martinez was allowed to carry a firearm, and discovered he had a bill of sale for the weapon from the Dominican Republic, but no valid permit or license in the United States, court papers state.

He was arrested, charged with criminal possession of a weapon, and released without bail after his arraignment last Friday, said a spokeswoman for Queens DA Richard Brown.

Secret Service agents Brandon Ulmer and Tim Auman, who were summoned to the airport, confirmed that Martinez had worked for the agency for three years ending in 2007 doing currency investigations and dignitary protection, law-enforcement sources said.

Divorce filings in NY up 12 percent since adoption of no-fault separations

While New York's gay couples are lining up to get hitched, straight ones are increasingly untying the knot.

Divorce filings are up 12 percent since the state last October adopted no-fault separations, which allows couples to split without having to prove why.

"It's still going to the dentist," said lawyer Raoul Felder. "But now you go to a painless dentist. There's a certain percentage of people who do it now that wouldn't have before."

There were 37,015 divorce filings statewide from October 2010 through this May, compared to 33,160 in the year-ago period, according to court data.

Under New York's former system, husbands and wives had to prove grounds for dissolving the marriage by providing embarrassing, and often false, testimony.

"The Ten Commandments say, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' " Woody Allen once quipped. "But New York state says you have to."

Divorce is also less expensive as a result of the change.

Lawyers are spending fewer billable hours deciding whether adultery, cruelty or, most popularly, the refusal of sex for more than a year was to blame for the breakup, attorneys said.

"People didn't want to deal with that embarrassment. This is a much easier process," said lawyer Fred Siegel. "You would have to spend significant energy and money long before you even got to the economics."

According to an analysis by The Business Review, attorneys so far are not reporting a decrease in revenue -- perhaps because of the increased filings.

Also playing a role in the increase are provisions that ensure that the wealthier spouse provides legal fees, attorneys said.

That rule also went into effect last October.

"When people want to get divorced, they're going to get a divorce. All no-fault did was stop forcing people to commit perjury," divorce lawyer Sue Moss said.

But attorney Bernard Clair said the increase is more likely due to changes in the economy.

"This has nothing to do with no-fault," he said. "There's been the sense that the economy is now getting a little better."