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Israeli ill with COVID-19 freed from Jordanian jail after $312,000 bail raised

Family of Yehiel Hayavi say he has been transferred to an Israeli hospital to stabilize his serious illness

Yehiel Hayavi. (Courtesy)
Yehiel Hayavi. (Courtesy)

An Israeli businessman who became dangerously ill with COVID-19 while being held in a Jordanian jail was released Sunday on bail and allowed to return to Israel for treatment.

A support campaign on behalf of Yehiel Hayavi, 65, managed to raise the NIS 1 million ($312,000) in cash demanded by a Jordanian court for bail, Hebrew media reported, and he was put in an ambulance that set out for Israel at 6 p.m.

The sum was less than a quarter of the NIS 3.6 million ($1.12 million) originally set for his release, but the Jordanian authorities were prepared to accept the smaller amount if it was paid in cash, rather than secured as bonds, according to the reports.

“Dad is in Israel,” his son, Lior Hayavi, told the Ynet news website.

The Jordanian ambulance took Hayavi to the border, where he was collected by a Magen David Adom ambulance and taken to an Israeli hospital, his son said.

“His medical condition is still serious, and his arrival for treatment in Israel is critical for stabilizing his condition and saving his life,” he said.

According to his son, Hayavi has only one partially functioning lung as a result of the serious disease.

Hayavi thanked the Foreign Ministry, Israel’s consul in Jordan and President Isaac Herzog who, he said, was personally involved in securing his father’s release.

Yehiel Hayavi was jailed last month. His family claims he was framed by a local businessman who lured him to the country under the pretext of signing a phony business deal, which led to his arrest on August 9.

Hayavi is a resident of Ashkelon and the son of Aharon Hayavi, a former judge and mayor in the coastal town. An American citizen, he established a plastic manufacturing company in Moscow that he had been seeking to replicate in Jordan. He enlisted the help of local businessmen, who his family says later turned out to have defrauded him and extorted a significant amount of cash prior to framing Hayavi for a crime.

After contracting COVID-19 behind bars, he was transferred to a local hospital. His family reached out to the Foreign Ministry for assistance and the latter said last week that it had been in touch with Jordanian authorities, demanding his safety.

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