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Rabbi arrested on suspicion he sexually assaulted minors

Jerusalem resident in his 70s suspected of indecent acts against two people several years ago, one of them a family member

Illustrative: Police officers near Jerusalem's Old City, on December 19, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: Police officers near Jerusalem's Old City, on December 19, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A Jerusalem rabbi in his 70s was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of committing sexual offenses against a family member and another person.

The investigation began following recent complaints received at the Beit Shemesh police station.

According to police, the suspect — who has not yet been named — committed indecent acts against minors in separate cases that occurred several years ago.

He was brought before a court on Wednesday to be remanded into custory.

The rabbi’s arrest comes as Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community is being shaken by sexual abuse allegations against several leading figures.

In December, prominent children’s author and rabbi Chaim Walder died by suicide after the Haaretz newspaper published a story accusing him of sexually assaulting nearly two dozen people, including children — allegations he had denied.

The Walder story has been hailed as a potential turning point in the approach to sexual abuse cases within the very insular community.

Haredi radio host Dudi Shwamenfeld recording at the Kol Berama radio station on July 1, 2009. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

On Monday, news broke that Dudi Shwamenfeld, a popular Haredi radio host, was accused by multiple women of sexual abuse, including one who said she was 16 when the abuse began.

News of those allegations emerged earlier this month, when it emerged that at least six women had accused the then-unnamed radio host of sexual assault. But earlier this week, according to the Ynet news site, at least one of the complainants filed an official police complaint against Shwamenfeld, a longtime host on the popular Kol Berama radio station that serves the ultra-Orthodox community.

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