Sunday update: Beating victim says rabbi knew of incident
TEL AVIV - Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar may be investigated following the April 26 kidnapping and beating of his daughter’s suitor.
Amar’s daughter, son and wife were arrested Thursday on suspicions of kidnapping a religious youth who had dated the rabbi's daughter.
Although police sources told Ynet Saturday that as of now there is no evidence linking the rabbi to the incident, they estimated that in any case he would have to present his version to investigators.
The only question remaining is whether he would be interrogated under warning, the sources said.
Investigators are set to determine whether the rabbi was aware of the violent incident, part of which took place in his own home.
In order to question the rabbi, who is scheduled to return to Israel from Thailand on Tuesday, police must obtain Attorney General Menachem Mazuz's authorization.
Rabbi Amar’s aide, Shlomo Farber, told Ynet the rabbi is examining the possibility of returning to Israel earlier than planned.
Sunday Amar said in response he had no involvement in the kidnapping of his daughter’s suitor and added that he was sorry for the harm caused to him.
The rabbi said he and his family would cooperate fully with the police.
The affair raises another troubling question: Did senior politicians attempt to prevent the affair’s publication to protect Amar?
Amar is the protégé of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and is connected to top Likud party members.
Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra staunchly denied claims any pressure was put on him or police regarding the affair.
“I have not spoken to anyone, and no politician has intervened in the investigation,” he said.
Reminiscent of ‘A Clockwork Orange’
The rabbi's 18-year-old daughter, Ayala, met a 17-year-old ultra-Orthodox youngster three months ago through an Internet chat.
However, the Amar family did not approve of the relationship.
The rabbi's son, Meir Amar, who has been leading a secular life for the past 20 years and has a criminal record, is the prime suspect in the investigation.
After failed attempts to convince the couple to end their relationship, Amar contacted two acquaintances, brothers Ahmed and Abdullah Sawalma from the Israeli Arab town of Kalansua, and together they planned the kidnapping.
According to police officials, the rabbi’s daughter coaxed the youngster into meeting her at a street in the religious town of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, where he was pushed into a car and kidnapped at knifepoint by the rabbi’s son.
The officials said the youth was beaten and threatened during the drive to an apartment in Kalansua.
“When they took him up to the apartment I stayed in the car the whole time, and did not see what they were doing to him,” the rabbi’s daughter said during questioning.
Police suspect the youngster was beaten for four hours, as if from the film “A Clockwork Orange,“ unaware that his kidnapper was the brother of his girlfriend.
The youth was taken to Jerusalem the following morning where his kidnappers continued to beat him in the rabbi’s home, according to allegations.