Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg From Tzfat Indicted on Sexual Abuse

An indictment was submitted by the state prosecutor on Monday morning to the Nazereth District Court against Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg, who faces complaints of severe sexual abuse from no less than 13 women.

Scheinberg, who was arrested earlier this month while trying to flee Israel at Ben-Gurion Airport, is accused in the indictment of a long list of heinous crimes, including rape, sodomy, sexual assault, disrupting legal proceedings and obtaining objects through fraud.

The former Rosh Yeshiva (dean) of the Orot HaAri Yeshiva in the northern city of Tzfat (Safed) has denied the charges.

However, a week after his arrest, Arutz Sheva exposed several damning details about the case, including the fact that Scheinberg allegedly admitted his offenses to Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and other rabbis. He has since then claimed over and over again that the allegations are “nonsense.”

Supported by the public outrage over the case, more and more women have come forward to publicly speak out about the alleged abuse they suffered, with one providing testimony to the Israeli media under an assumed name, and another publishing her side via an open letter.

Solid material evidence has reportedly also been added to the case.

While in jail, guards complained that Scheinberg was cursing them, taking their names from the name tags on their shirts and writing them on a note before reciting: “I place on you a kfeida,” a type of curse.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg of Safed was indicted Monday for raping, sodomizing and/or sexually assaulting 12 women.

    The rabbi, who heads the Orot Ha’ari Yeshiva in northern Israel, was also charged with aggravated fraud, obstructing justice and criminal threatening. The Nazareth District Court remanded him until Sunday.

    According to the indictment, Sheinberg allegedly committed the crimes both in personal meetings with the women and in video chats during which he asked them to strip.

    The incidents took place mainly during the last decade, when Sheinberg served as a community rabbi in addition to his job as head of the yeshiva.

    He was considered both a Torah scholar and a kabbalist with special powers. As a result, he was often consulted by members of his own community and some from outside it. According to the indictment, he abused this trust to sexually exploit women who consulted him.

    “We know there are other women who were victimized. But for reasons known only to them, they have chosen not to complain,” Superintendent Galit Winograd, who led the police investigation, told Haaretz. She added that the 14 women who did complain – of whom only 12 are included in the indictment – described a situation in which the rabbi systematically exploited his status to abuse them.

    In her request to keep Sheinberg in detention, prosecutor Eynat Gottesmen Saar also stressed that he had systematically exploited women. He sought out victims with specific characteristics, she wrote: Young religious women whose husbands were usually his students, and viewed him as an absolute religious authority.

    Sheinberg led the women to believe they needed him because only he could solve their problems, via a treatment he called “relaxation,” Gottesmen Saar wrote. He thereby allegedly persuaded them to let him perform acts that constituted sexual assault.

    The severity of his alleged crimes, the number of women he victimized and the long time frame over which the acts occurred all attest to the fact that Sheinberg constitutes a danger to the public, she argued.

    Before the hearing began, Sheinberg’s relatives applauded and sang, “We love Father; Father’s innocent; the truth will come to light.”

    Sheinberg’s attorney, Efraim Demri, said afterward that the indictment was “inflated, and from what I’ve seen, in part simply baseless.” Accusing the prosecution of trying “to create an overarching concept to enhance what they are saying,” Demri predicted that the case would end “in a whimper.”

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