Police arrested two men suspected of blackmailing ultra-Orthodox men who they photographed attending a popular nightclub in Tel Aviv.
Indictments were recently served against cousins Yehonatan Elroi and Ehud Benisti for trying to extort money from a number of Haredi men who visited the Amsterdam nightclub in Tel Aviv, Maariv reported Wednesday. The club has a reputation for attracting ultra-Orthodox revelers looking to escape the restrictive Haredi world.
The men allegedly photographed visitors to the club, followed them home and then blackmailed them with threats of sending the incriminating shots to their family. In the ultra-Orthodox world, the revelation of a visit to such a sinful venue spells immediate social ruin and expulsion from the community.
According to the report, the men were finally nabbed after they targeted a Haredi father of two. The man, who was not named in the Maariv report, received a telephone call last month from the blackmailers demanding $20,000, or else.
The panicked victim consulted with Dudi Zilbershlag, a prominent Haredi businessman who was the target of a blackmail attempt in 2011. In that incident a young woman, Tom Drum, enticed Zilbershlag into compromising positions during a meeting in a hotel room that was rigged with cameras. Drum was later sentenced to three months community service and fined NIS 12,000.
Zilbershlag advised the man to report the incident to the police, which he did. He then set up a meeting with Elroi in which he agreed to hand over $7,200. When Elroi arrived cops swooped in and after a short chase arrested him.