Jerusalem rabbi arrested for slavery after women found

Jerusalem rabbi arrested for slavery after women found
An Israeli flag flutters at Mount of Olives with the Old City of Jerusalem and its al Aqsa Mosque (L) on January 9, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 13 January 2020

Jerusalem rabbi arrested for slavery after women found

Jerusalem rabbi arrested for slavery after women found
  • The rabbi was detained on suspicion of running a “closed community” where women and children “worked under conditions of slavery”

JERUSALEM: A rabbi has been arrested in Jerusalem on suspicion of holding dozens of women and children in conditions of slavery, Israeli police said Monday.
The 60-year-old suspect was detained on suspicion of running a “closed community” where women and children “worked under conditions of slavery,” police said in a statement.
A two-month investigation was launched after officers received reports that the religious leader had for years committed “severe offenses” against those living at the residence, police said.
Some 50 women and a number of children under five were found when police raided the site, where victims were thought to have been isolated from the outside world.
A police video of the raid, in a central ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem, showed cramped living quarters with bunk beds as well as piles of cash.
“The suspect also punished the women in different ways and stole money from them,” police said.
Eight women accused of aiding the rabbi were also detained and are being held on suspicion of slavery.
The arrests come after ultra-Orthodox women launched a campaign in November urging those in their community to speak up about domestic abuse.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up around 10 percent of Israel’s population and live in close-knit communities often closed off from wider society.


Italy lauds decree on Palestinian elections

Italy lauds decree on Palestinian elections
Updated 35 min 16 sec ago

Italy lauds decree on Palestinian elections

Italy lauds decree on Palestinian elections
  • Italy’s government said it is “ready to support, along with the EU, the Palestinian electoral process"

ROME: Italy has welcomed the signing of a decree by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hold general elections this year, and urged Israeli authorities to facilitate their holding in all Palestinian territories.

“We are talking about a positive development to ensure the rights of the Palestinian people and strengthen local authorities, to which Italy continues to provide constant support, including through targeted programs of bilateral cooperation,” said a spokesman for Italy’s Foreign Ministry.

Elections “would contribute to strengthening the legitimacy of, and international confidence in, Palestinian institutions,” he added. Italy’s government said it is “ready to support, along with the EU, the Palestinian electoral process.”

The upcoming Palestinian elections would be the first in 15 years. Elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) will be held on May 22, and presidential elections will be held on July 31.

A 120-seat Parliament will be formed. Voting will take place both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies said the decree by Abbas represents an “important opening” for US President-elect Joe Biden.

“It is good news for the entire Middle East, where Italy has always been an advocate for peace, dialogue and stability,” it added.