Photo: GPO
Investigators want his version of the affair. Rabbi Shlomo Amar
Photo: GPO
Photo: Reuters
Mazuz decides police questioning of Rabbi Amar necessary
Photo: Reuters

Rabbi under fire

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar interrogated over kidnapping of his daughter’s suitor. Meanwhile, public relations firm hired to help rabbi deal with scandal

TEL AVIV - Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar is being interrogated by police investigators for his role in the kidnapping of his daughter’s suitor.


The interrogation was made possible after Attorney General Menachem Mazuz approved Monday a request submitted by the police on the matter. 


“Rabbi Amar is cooperating with the police and his interrogation is expected to end soon,” Tel Aviv District Police Chief David Tzur said.


“This is a simple yet sensitive investigation. The rabbi will offer his version of the events, and the matter has been coordinated with his attorney. If we will have to interrogate him under warning, we will.”


Prior to the interrogation Amar said he and his family have been put in the center of a “heavy storm.”


“Since I was informed of the act (kidnapping), I have been filled with deep sorrow and pain,” he said. “I am sorry for the youth who was hurt, and I am willing to answer any question."


Regarding his son Meir, the prime suspect in the case, the rabbi said, “I pray that with God’s help he would find the right direction.”


Earlier on Tuesday Rabbi Amar returned from a visit to Thailand.  


Rabbi Amar's son, Eliyahu, said in response to the decision to interrogate his father "Let the police do its job, with the help of God it will all pass,"  


The Public Relations agency Rimon - Cohen, which was hired to help the rabbi deal with the scandal, said in a statement "Naturally the police wishes to hear the rabbi's take on the affair, and the rabbi would gladly respond on the various issues."


Monday police investigators completed their questioning of those involved in the affair, including that of Rabbi Amar's son, Meir, who is the prime suspect in the case.


During the interrogation police investigators confronted the rabbi's wife, Mazal, with the complainant in an effort to determine whether Rabbi Amar new of the goings on.


How it all began


Last Thursday Rabbi Amar's son and wife were arrested on suspicions of kidnapping a religious youth who had dated the rabbi's daughter.


The rabbi's 18-year-old daughter, Ayala, met the 17-year-old ultra-Orthodox youngster three months ago through an Internet chat.


However, the Amar family did not approve of the relationship.


After failed attempts to convince the couple to end their relationship, the rabbi's son, Meir Amar, contacted two acquaintances, brothers Ahmed and Abdullah Sawalma from the Israeli Arab town of Kalansua, and together they planned the kidnapping.


Reminiscent of 'A Clockwork Orange'


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 a “Clockwork Orange" scene, 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.


Meir Amar claimed he wanted to “reeducate” his sister and her suitor, as the ultra-Orthodox are not permitted to meet prior to their wedding.


פרסום ראשון: 05.10.05, 00:33
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