Police raid ultra-Orthodox newspaper

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Police arrested 28 people from a Jerusalem ultra-Orthodox sect suspected of extorting advertising in their newspaper from big companies.
Police said the suspects threatened executives of private and state-owned companies into placing ads in Hapeles, an ultra-Orthodox newspaper associated with Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach.

The raid on offices in Jerusalem and the city of Bnei Brak capped an 18-month undercover investigation, police said.
Auerbach loyalists called the arrest “a world war” against the Jerusalem sect. A spokesperson for the sect called it “a dictatorial attempt to silence us, reminiscent of dark regimes.”

Some of the suspects will be brought before the Rishon Letzion court for further detention.

Police also raided the homes of the newspaper’s executives, arresting editor-in-chief Nati Grossman, his deputy Yishayahu Wein and general director Shmulik Elyashiv.

Police launched the investigation after receiving dozens of complaints from executives at Israel’s top companies. The suspects set up a special phone line through which they discussed which companies to harass and to what extent, police said.

Hapeles employees said the men arrested include leaders of the fight against the conscription of ultra-Orthodox men into the Israel Defense Forces. They also included organizers of recent stormy protests as members of the Committee to Save the World Torah.

As the spokesman for the Auerbach sect said: “The arrests of newspaper editors and writers are not something that can be part of the public agenda. This is not a democracy, but a tyrannical dictatorship. “The Israeli police and their emissaries do not dare to arrest other newspaper editors, no matter how extremist they may be.”

Police accused the suspects of attempting to “attack property and privacy rights through harassment and intimidation.” ■

Content retrieved from: https://aurora-israel.co.il/en/la-policia-allana-a-un-periodico-ultraortodoxo/#google_vignette.

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