Jerusalem – Charedi Men Targeted In Israeli Nightclub Extortion Plot

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    IllustrationJerusalem – Two Israeli men have been arrested in connection with an extortion scheme involving Haredi men.

    Cousins Yehonatan Elroi and Ehud Benisti concocted a plot to surreptitiously photograph Haredi men who frequented the Amsterdam nightclub in Tel Aviv, according to a report in Maariv (http://bit.ly/TxK0Dd).

    Elroi and Benisti would follow the men home to learn where they lived and then call the men to blackmail them into paying large sums of money to prevent the photographs from being leaked.

    The pair was arrested in a sting operation last month after a married father of two received the threatening phone call from the duo and decided to contact the police. The unidentified target said he was in the middle of singing songs after lighting Chanukah candles when he got the call.

    “In that moment, my blood ran cold and my head began to spin,” the victim said. “I saw my whole world destroyed before me. [I saw] my wife divorcing me and my children expelled from their schools. It doesn’t matter what I actually did in the nightclub. In our extreme community, such a thing is the end of you.” After receiving the call demanding $20,000, the victim contacted Dudi Zilbershlag – a well-known Haredi businessman who was blackmailed by a young woman after he was videotaped in a “compromising position” in a hotel room in 2011 – for advice. Zilbershlag told the victim to contact the police.

    The police told the target to arrange to meet Elroi and Benisti and offer them $7,200 in exchange for the photographs. When the men showed up to claim the money, the police arrested them following a brief chase.

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    43 COMMENTS

    1. Actually, its a good sign that at least a few chareidi guys are willing to “let their payos down” for an hour or two and relax like normal people do in EY and everywhere else throughout the world. This blackmail is intolerable and should be severely punished. A yid, whatever his/her hashkafah should be free to engage in legal recreation without fear of blackmail or extortion.

    2. I recall that a Soviet ambassador in Africa was once lured into a honey trap by the British or Americans. When they threatened to release the photos, he offered to buy them as souvenirs of a wonderful evening.

      When (the first) Duke of Wellington was blackmailed by someone threatening to publish details of his three-way marriage, he replied “Publish and be damned!”

    3. i dont get it, if he’s going to nightclubs and his wife doesn’t approve then he’s living a lie, i can’t imagine that he has a good marriage… people need to be honest with themselves and their families especially when it comes to frumkeit.

      people look for a shiddouch that seems great (learning boy – pious girl etc…) but in reality they are not being truthful to themselves as to who they are and what they believe in.

      maybe if there was more emes (truth) in the world then people would be happier and these kind of incidents wouldn’t happen.

      • Thats an issue between him and his wife or SO and should not be the subject of blackmail. Lets not be judgemental about other yidden until we ourselves have achieved a level of “tazdikus” that few of us have yet attained (at least while we are still busy posting on internet news sites).

      • Doing things your wife dosent like dosent mean living a LIE…he could be the best husband who has a shier every morning and has a very good parnassah and he generous supports his family, has a real family life…
        Sometimes a person has a yetzer hora and his friend asked him to go disco or he called a friend and feels in need to dance it off or just in the mood of looking how other dance and enjoy their Oylem Hazeh….
        His wife probably wont like it and be upset but NO women with a family will divorce her husband over this…She might be embarrased as well as he will but will get over it if he is this type of person described…No man or women should feel threatned by todays technology and live in fear being blackmailed for thousands because of a single stupid incident…

        • Actually, Yossi, doing things in secret that your wife doesn’t like IS living a lie, pretty much by definition. Not saying that it’s always the worst thing to do, by you must admit: it’s lying. And lying repeatedly is… living a lie.

      • 1) Do you do everything your wife approves?
        2) What’s your business? It’s nobodies business, if he wants to go to a night then let it be. He doesn’t hurt anybody when going to a night club it’s his own aveire

        • yoyoyo, poster #28 said: “What’s your business? It’s nobodies business, if he wants to go to a night then let it be. He doesn’t hurt anybody when going to a night club it’s his own aveire”

          I gather you feel the same way about homosexual activity? They aren’t hurting anybody, it’s their own aveiros.

          • The people going to nightclubs are very different from homosexuals in at least one significant way: They have not requested that they be allowed to march through the streets of Yerushalayim, holding a banner glorifying their aveiros for all to see. I have not heard of a “Chareidim who Go to Nightclubs” Pride movement.

      • thank u rebitzien …… u seem so young and you have not seen or lived long enough , to understand life and the world is not black and white …..
        open up a tanch and at jewish history …… we are better thewn the past

      • If he has a problem with his desires, it is his business to address it. He is not flaunting halacha in a way that calls attention to himself and he is probably struggling with this. Doesn’t the gemara in Kiddushin say that if you can’t control yourself, wear black and sin where nobody knows you? It is disgusting to use a person’s personal struggles to blackmail him.

    4. The fact that the victim had someone frum to turn to – which is what saved him – tells me that this kind of blackmail is prevalent in the chareidi community because people are so afraid to open their mouths to anyone. It’s only because of that high profile case that they had someone to turn to for help.

      • I concur. To me the key lesson of this story is that our communities need to include people to whom people feel comfortable and trusting to spill their guts. Extortion can’t take place if the target has a safe address with whom to share the story and facts.

      • “this kind of blackmail is prevalent in the chareidi community because people are so afraid to open their mouths to anyone.”

        (I am chassidic) As if we aren’t people who deal with day to day drama, ballyhooing and superfluity. However, I see my relationship with my friends, family, and wife as very open just as it is with many of our neighbors. There’s always “bad apples” in every group.

        Ultimately, your over generalization about all chareidi is short of being bigoted and I am sure I misunderstood your observation.

    5. To #1
      “few chareidi guys are willing to “let their payos down” for an hour or two and relax like normal people do in EY and everywhere else throughout the world”
      What is chareidi?
      What is normal people?
      Since when do we learn from the rest of the world?

      If you are having a hard time and need some time to relax – it doesn’t mean you should go to those places
      Pick yourself up and go to nice vacation place (not to the place full of pritzus)

      • Pick yourself up and go to nice vacation place (not to the place full of pritzus)”

        Like where? Miami Beach which unless the frum Yidden walk around with the blurry glasses invention, is the pritzus capital of the USA!

        • Who says a vacation should involve a public beach? When I feel the need to “get away from it all,” I usually fly to Barcelona, eat at Delicias Kosher, go sightseeing or to Montjuïc for couple of hours to just sit and read and smoke couple of cigars, and, the highlight of the trip, go see Barcelona crash somebody, preferably Real Madrid or Manchester United if I am lucky, and in 3-4 days I am as good as new. And I don’t even no the way to the beach there (although the is a great view of the harbour from Montjuïc).

      • There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting in front of a gemorah and sweating over a hard tosfos. I know because I do it and it really works.(not called masmid for no reason) If you say no way – its obvious that you haven’t tried it and so I suggest go try it.

        • It’s wonderful that this works for you. All of these men are products of a Yeshiva and have certainly sat in front of a Gemara and sweated over a Tosfos. It obviously was not enough for them. The incredible thing about your statement is that no respected Baal Eitza would tell someone struggling with Taava to just sit, learn and it will go away. That is the province of boors like yourself.

      • There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting in front of a gemorah and sweating over a hard tosfos. I know because I do it and it really works.(not called masmid for no reason) If you say no way – its obvious that you haven’t tried it and so I suggest go try it.

    6. Someone should open kosher nightclubs, separate clubs for men and women, also some mixed booths for married couples and shidduchim dates, so that people can go out and enjoy themselves once in a while!

    7. what a person does is between him and Hashem, after 120 The Heavenly Bais Din already has those pictures/film clip and they will decide if the man/woman deserves to be punished. It is not the business of any human being to judge him except maybe the man’s wife and children. It is sad that bottom feeders try to extort money from people.

    8. I think that the blackmailers should publish the pictures of the almost charadi men. Let this be a lesson to others who follow their yetzer hara instead of going to the beis medresh.

    9. Kosher shrimp!
      Kosher lobster!
      Kosher ski vacations!
      Kosher zoomba!
      Kosher gangnam!
      We have to do everything they do.
      So why not kosher nightclubs?
      Any business partners looking to invest in a new venture, Kosher Z, located in the heart of NYC, all entertainment scrupulously arranged & appraised.

    10. My guess is the “amsterdam” night club has a lot of the aspects of real Amsterdam. We all have our Yetzer Horas, but yes, this could be very damaging to a Chareidi person. Really, all said and done, a frum person should NOT be in these type of places, but the Yetzer Hora is a terrible beast, and strong as h-ll. How many of us have been to Vegas and seen the guys with long beards and Yankees! (always Yankees) ball caps go into places that are definitely not tzanua. They are fooling no one but themselves.

    11. Let me guess, these same Charedi tzadikim that frequent night clubs–before they light their Hanuka candles–scream the loudest against immoral, secular Zionists who don’t live by “Torah values” and refuse to serve in impure IDF because they study Torah to protect the state, but still get themselves into “compromising positions” as any other group in society. Obviously something is not working with your model of lifestyle.

      • No…it’s not the “model of lifestyle”..it’s his own yetzer hara that needs to be conquered….leave the lifestyle out of it…We all have the Sutan within us…some of us are able to conquer the forbidden desires…some of us struggle…
        Let’s stop judging…..really…if you haven’t walked the walk…don’t talk the talk. That doesn’t say that he is right…it only says…or I’m only saying….for some people the struggle is tremendous…
        The difference is, some us have a struggle with a piece of chocolate that is not good for us or even poison…if you are a diabetic and some of us have a struggle not to take money that you know is not coming to you and yet we all give in. Well, this man is struggling with other things…We all struggle with different things. That doesn’t make it right…just try to be understanding…..not judgemental.

    12. The 2 extortionist should burn in gehinom and those weak charaidy men are a shame to the klall for openly being mechallel shaim shmayim berabim which has a punishment much worse then extortion. BH they were caught you see it works AYIN ROEH

    13. I am as much disgusted with the fact that a frum man would frequent a night club as with the blackmailing. (Yeah I know it happens and I think it’s disgusting).

      If you feel you need to air out b’gashmuis then tell your wife to dress up in her best, rent out a room in a hotel somewhere for two nights and go have fun with your wife!!! If you davka want the dancing then go together with her!!!

      Going to a nightclub and watching pritzus and then coming home to tzind Chanukah licht while your wife thinks you were davening Mincha or finishing up in work, is living a LIE!! Period. Zehu. Such a man would have lost every ounce of trust in my eyes. No spouse deserves this.

      There are kosher ways to give out your gashmius’dig desires as is apparent by the majority of frum men who are Erlich inside out, Trustworthy and faithful to their wives and manage to have a gashmiusdig outlet that is kosher and within Torah as well as marriage guidelines.

    14. For those saying that a woman wouldn’t divorce over this, you must be kidding. People are divorcing left and right nowadays for issues of much less importance. Having trust issues would be a biggie for many women nowadays to consider divorce.

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