Police have uncovered social media accounts allegedly used to reach out to women that they believe belong to a prominent Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg from northern Israel recently accused of multiple sex crimes.
Israel Hayom learned that police were investigating a Facebook account under the name “Oz Israeli,” believed to be a pseudonym used by the rabbi to follow stories about sex as well as the social media accounts of various women.
The fake account’s friends list includes politicians, rabbis, students from the accused rabbi’s yeshiva, and many women whose profile pictures show them wearing minimal clothing.
One of the most recent posts by “Oz Israeli” is of an article titled “Sex as Consolation for a Broken Heart — A Mistaken Guide.” Written from a female perspective, it reads, “The body feels pleasure. The soul, on the other hand, is not so sure. While still sleeping with my new and young acquisition, I couldn’t stop feeling that I was betraying the man in my heart, and worse yet, betraying myself.”
Police believe the article may have been shared by accident.
The fake account also commented several times on the accused rabbi’s official Facebook page, complimenting his daily Torah lessons, among other things.
The rabbi’s attorney, Efraim Damari, stressed that “there are no ties between the rabbi and this Facebook page.”
Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg was arrested at Ben-Gurion International Airport earlier this month, moments before boarding a flight to France in what authorities believe was an attempt to flee Israel over allegations of rape and indecent acts.
In addition to these charges, the rabbi is further suspected of having sexual relations with some 20 women dealing with infertility issues, under the guise of treatment.
Over the weekend, several prominent rabbis spoke out against the accused, implying that he had presented himself as a kabbalist, or Jewish mystic, a practice that is looked down upon.
Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, a well-known figure in the national religious community, wrote in a Sabbath supplement that “the phenomenon of kabbalist village fools has reached the national religious public.
“Admiring these kabbalists is the next closest thing to idolatry. People believe they have super-human powers that apparently come from their sacred and prophetic abilities. This is idol worship plain and simple.”
Asked whether, after scandals like this, it was still reasonable to consult with those who study Kabbalah about personal issues, Rabbi Uri Sherki responded: “If one doctor fails, should you not seek help from any other doctor? If one plumber destroys the pipe, should you not hire any other tradesmen?”
He advised that, even while admiring scholars, people should think critically.
Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, one of the people to reveal the accusations against the rabbi, said that deliberations about whether to make the issue public came down to one point: “We knew that if we didn’t publicize it, women could not exercise caution against him.”