• Tweeter
  • republish

Israeli police in Jerusalem. (Illustrative image). Menahem KAHANA / AFP

Israeli police say they dismantled an organization on Monday mistreating dozens of women and children. The institution, headed by a religious man, was intended to be a seminary for women. But the residents and their children were actually mistreated. The police even refer to a situation which involved slavery.

From our correspondent in Jerusalem , Guilhem Delteil

The man at the heart of this case is a sexagenarian, an Orthodox Jew who presents himself as a rabbi. He ran a center that wanted to be a " women's seminar " in the center of Jerusalem. After a long investigation lasting several months, he was arrested on Monday, along with eight women suspected of having been his accomplices.

According to the police, this " seminar " welcomed 50 women who were living in crowded conditions, in deplorable sanitary conditions and deprived of their rights. Several of these women had arrived in this organization with young children, between one and five years old. They were regularly placed in isolation within the complex, say the police.

The authorities believe that the man at the head of this seminar exercised absolute control over the residents of this center: they were cut off from their families and punished for each transgression to the strict rules that he dictated. These women were working but their jobs had to be approved by their religious leader. And some of their wages, said the police, were paid directly to him. For the police, they worked " in conditions of slavery ".