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Haim Zach
Woman beat, threatened by 'modesty squad'
Jerusalem woman who left ultra-Orthodox life after her divorce gagged, beaten by group of self-proclaimed 'chastity guards'

A 31-year-old Jerusalem woman was cruelly beaten and threatened with death by members of the 'modesty squad' who took it upon themselves to interrogate her about her relationships with men, an indictment filed Thursday by the Jerusalem Prosecution reveals.

 

According to the indictment, 29-year-old Elhanan Buzaglo and six other men forced their way into the woman's apartment in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Maalot Dafna several months ago. The Prosecution says that the woman once belonged to the ultra-Orthodox community, but abandoned that life after her divorce in 2005.

 

After seizing the woman, the men toppled her to the floor, kicked her repeatedly and then gagged her, warning she would be blinded with mace and stabbed if she dare open her eyes. She was then 'interrogated' by Buzaglo and his ilk, as they tried to force her to disclose the identities of men she had been in contact with.

 

The group, which also hurled profanities at the woman throughout the ordeal, is also accused of threatening to kill the woman if she did not move from her apartment.

 

The men are also charged with the theft of two cell phones; it is believed the group took the phones with

the intent of obtaining the phone numbers of men the woman was seeing.

 

Based in the religious neighborhoods of Meah Shearim and Geula, the modesty squad has declared a crusade against violations of Halachic law and what it views as 'unchaste' behavior. According to the indictment, the group has elected to employ intimidation and violence as the means to this end.

 

According to the indictment, Buzaglo received $2,000 for part in the assault. The State Prosecutor's office, by way of Attorney Rivka Alkobi, is charging him with conspiracy to commit a crime, aggravated assault and two counts of extortion.

 

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