By Dov Ivry (The Times of Israel)
July 30, 2012
There are not a few reported monsters in the world: the Sasquatch in northwest North America and the Loch Ness in Scotland are two.
No one has ever laid a hand on them so no one can vouch that they really exist.
There is a monster in Jerusalem as well. No one has ever laid a hand on him either. But this one is definitely real. His name is Avroham Mondrowitz.
Mondowitz is a paedophile who molested up to 300 boys in Brooklyn in a mainly ultra-Orthodox section of the city — we’ll never know the real number of victims — and then skipped out to Israel in 1985 where he twice fended off efforts to send him back to face justice. Mondowitz, who presents himself as an ordained rabbi and Columbia-trained psychologist, and is neither, lives free as a bird in the neighborhood of Nachlaot in central Jerusalem.
The US twice sought his extradition from Israel, in 1986 and again in 2008. The first time the two states discovered incredibly that their extradition treaty covered only sexual abuse crimes against females and not males. The second time they worked with a revised treaty. A lower court ruled for the extradition. The Supreme Court nixed that saying that Israel had 20 years to get this guy hiding in plain sight and to come along after such an extraordinary period of time violates his civil rights. You can’t make this stuff up.
He may gone off the radar in Israel but they have not forgotten Mondrowitz in New York. Just last month the Post ran still another article on how the man they call “New York’s most notorious child molester … got away with it.”
Mondrowitz’s victims are now in court seeking to view documents which will shed light on their belief that the Brooklyn district attorney Charles J. Hynes, now 77, an elected official, was responsible for the fatal delay in not seeking Mondrowitz’s extradition and he did so in order to curry political favor with ultra-Orthodox religious leaders who did not want to see him back in Brooklyn. Hynes began meeting with these leaders after taking office in 1989
Ultra-orthodox rabbis are renown for spending their entire lives memorizing a multitude of precepts produced by a multitude of sages down their ages and then applying them to every situation in their waking lives so that every minute of every day they will always be doing the right thing. But when it comes to paedophiles in their community somewhere along the line they reached outside the box for their guiding precept. They adopted it from Mizaru, Kikazaru, and Iwazaru. These are Japanese monkeys. Their names mean see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. In an amazing triumph for the ecumenical movement it turns out that Catholic prelates adopted the exact same precept in regard to paedophiles among the ministers of their faith. Some like the Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia, who got up to six years for “child endangerment,” are now in prison. The judge convicted him of shielding, protecting and aiding “monsters in clerical garb.” Mondrowitz got help along the way too up to and including illegal acts of obstruction of justice but we’ll never learn from whom. The Catholics operate in a strict hierarchical system. There but for the grace of decentralization go our child endangerers.
Mondrowitz who presented himself to the community as a rabbi and as a psychologist and no one in Brooklyn questioned his credentials received boys from ages 8 to 15 with psychological difficulties. Referrals came from all over the community and also from social services. He had a popular call-in radio program and even the “king of Jewish music” Mordechai Ben David appeared on it. Haredi music as it is known is the equivalent to gospel in the general culture. The tape still exists. That MBD would share a microphone with him gives you a measure of the prestige Mondrowitz enjoyed at that time.
He used the boys sent to him as sex toys, In ultra-Orthodox culture members of the flock are expected to choose a rabbi. When they need guidance in any matter not excluding their personal lives, they seek it from their rabbi. What he tells them is binding. From empirical evidence it appears that all the rabbis on the subject of paedophilia imposed “omerta,” an Italian word meaning a code of silence. No one reported Mondrowitz to the authorities. Then he got careless. He lived in a mixed neighborhood. Mondrowitz developed an appetite for boys of Italian extraction. Their folks were not bound to any omerta. Parents of four boys went to the police. Two cops came round to arrest Mondrowitz. They were too late. He was already en route to Canada and from there headed to the Promised Land.
The daily tabloids here had a field day, splashing his face all over their front pages with breathless stories of how a nefarious serial child molester had dropped down into Jerusalem. You read that and you concluded that the sun won’t set twice before this guy is out of here. Nothing happened. First there was that technicality that the extradition treaty was not applicable to Mondrowitz and secondly at about the same time erupted one of the bizarrest political controversies ever in a country where bizarre political controversies are a routine occurrence. The French asked for the extradition of one William Nakash, a Jew from Paris then in his early 20s, for killing an Arab. A large segment of the population arose and demanded that the government not extradite Nakash and furthermore not to extradite any Jew to anywhere at any time for any reason. As the wave of xenophobia swept higher over the land, Mondrowitz was forgotten.
The facts or urban legend in the Nakash case are these. The year was 1983. His brother ran a night-club. Arab toughs were repeatedly hassling him and his customers, he said. He called William. He came, caught up with the ringleader and pumped eight bullets in his back in an alley. Some time later he headed for the Promised Land. He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life. Meanwhile Nakash was arrested in Israel and in jail found religion. Nakash is a Sephardi. Yitzhak Peretz, head of Shas, the party that represents the interests of religious Sephardis, was interior minister. Shas held the balance of power in the government. The French are not getting Nakash, said Peretz, and we were off to the races.
This wasn’t just religious fanaticism admixed with political opportunism gone wild. Peretz touched a very deep and sensitive nerve in the Israeli psyche. Zionism itself was founded in response to the framing in France on charges of treason of an army captain, Alfred Dreyfus. The belief, embedded by centuries of experience, is that a Jew will not get a fair shake “out there.” Nakash was portrayed as a hero defending his people against Arab persecution. Even so a survey showed a 53-43 split in favor of turning him over. If you abrogate a treaty, you hurt Israel, went the argument. Besides if we turn Israel into a sanctuary for fugitives we’ll be swamped with all the riffraff of the world – Jew or not, they’ll produce counterfeit documents proving they were sixth generation Hebrews or born on Mars, whatever it takes, to gain entry. The French said this case had nothing to do with communal relations; it was a settling of accounts among rival criminals. The French were probably right. Nakash took the name “Rudy Atlan” when he got here. He was arrested according to Le Nouvel Observateur “pendant une tentative de hold-up,” – during an attempted hold-up. It must have been some hold-up. The Chicago Tribune said he tried to dispossess a Christian prelate of 60 gold bars and $2 million in cash. Only later did the police discover that it was Nakash they had in custody. Peretz made the point that the French are big hypocrites and that’s true too. The French along with many other countries such as Russia and Germany do not extradite their nationals, the most egregious French case even then being that of the film director Roman Polanski, who raped a 13-year-old girl in the US. In 1987 after a long Mexican standoff between the government and the Supreme Court Nakash was finally extradited and given 20 years in a new trial.
The same year Nakash exited stage right there was an election. On his way out the door Peretz who was also responsible for the Mondrowitz case was asked on Israel TV why he didn’t act on US requests to “extradite” Mondrowitz. (Wrong question. What he had the right to do was “deport” him.) He replied that he had no conclusive proof that the charges against Mondrowitz were true. Well, he had conclusive proof in the Nakash case, a corpus delicti, but it didn’t matter. Someone else calling a spade a spade might have said that what Peretz was really doing was shielding, protecting and aiding a monster in clerical garb.
A new sheriff rode into town. He talked so tough you’d think that Wyatt Earp himself had come back to life. His name: Roni Milo, later mayor of Tel Aviv. He was put in charge of the interior ministry. Milo promised there would be no more monkey business in the Mondrowitz case. He went on radio and announced he would deport Mondrowitz immediately, forthwith, posthaste according to an Associated Press report (which also erroneously used the word “extradite.”) Said Milo after perusing the same documents given Peretz, “This is one of the worst cases I could ever imagine. After checking the details I decided this man should be sent to the United States and be punished for the terrible things he did to children.” That apparently was the last word Milo spoke ever on the Mondrowitz case. He wasn’t deported. Nothing at all happened. One thing that was done was that Israeli law was updated to make it explicitly clear that a male must be regarded as a sexual object no less than a female. You’ve come a long way baby. But no effort was made to paste this update into the extradition treaty which remained a non-starter. And then in 1989 Hynes became DA in Brooklyn and the Mondrowitz case was deep-sixed over there.
The window of opportunity to catapult Mondrowitz back to Brooklyn, no fuss, no bother, was only there at most for a day or two when Milo arrived on the scene. It was theoretically open until 1996 but not in any practicable manner. This goes to the question of how much responsibility Hynes must bear for non-action, at least until 1996. The answer is none.
On the basis of the information in the public record, I think it is safe to say that Mondrowitz did not possess Israeli citizenship until 1996. The government can deport a non-citizen at any time for any reason as I understand it. It does this all the time. When Milo saw the file I think he was sincere in saying he would immediately give Mondrowitz the boot. And as interior minister all he had to do was sign on the dotted line. Unfortunately Milo was not the interior minister. He was a deputy minister in the prime minister’s office assigned to ride herd on the interior ministry. The interior minister officially was the prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. Shamir had a razor-thin majority dependent on the votes of the ultra-Orthodox parties. Shamir was a very astute politician. Maybe he didn’t need a nudge from anyone when he heard the radio broadcast to call Milo and tell him to back off. Or maybe someone from the ultra-Orthodox community drew it to his attention that he would be better off without this issue. The upshot was that Milo was muzzled and he left that office after a few months. For the next five years the interior ministry was the property of the ultra-Orthodox Shas in the hands of the notorious Aryeh Deri, a demagogue and a crook who stayed until he was charged with corruption in 1993 on his way to prison. Deri played the heartstrings of his base to perfection; he would never touch this issue. Anything else, just leave cash; cheques and credit cards not accepted. Next up in the interior ministry was the prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in name only the same as Shamir. But those were the opening days of the Oslo peace push. The country was in an uproar the whole time and it culminated in Rabin’s assassination. I think when he delegated authority in the interior minister the understanding was not to make waves. The upshot is that Hynes could have walked back and forth in front of the interior ministry for six years with a sign on his back that said GIVE ME MONDROWITZ OR GIVE ME DEATH and it would haven’t made an iota of difference.
Any Jew in the world can show up in Israel and claim citizenship under the Law of Return. The right goes to anyone with one Jewish grandparent and applies to members of their immediate families. They get an immigration certificate which is loaded with benefits as in customs and tax exemptions, which they keep, and they can trade it in for a citizenship certificate immediately or at any time. The immigrant absorption ministry handles applicants coming under the Law of Return, the vast majority. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989 the immigrant absorption minister was none other than Yitzhak Peretz. Give him credit because until he left in 1992 he had landed a record number of new citizens, 400,000 alone from the former Soviet Union and 30,000 more from Ethiopia. There was a dark side. Immigration officials stood at the turnstiles of the airport and rubber-stamped the absorption of an estimated 35 of the most notorious criminals in the world; the Russian mafia had arrived. Not all of these were Jews or married to a woman with a Jewish grandparent; but they all could produce impeccable documents. You might say that Peretz got his revenge big-time for losing Nakash. But to be fair to Shas there is a big upside to their bring ’em back alive and don’t get hung up on technicalities attitude. In 1973 when the question arose of whether to allow in the Falasha from Ethiopia. They claimed to be Jews but had been separated for millennia from the mainstream. The immigration absorption ministry studied the matter and concluded they are not ours. The Ashkenazi chief rabbi Shlomo Goren backed this finding. Ovadia Yosef, the Sephardi chief rabbi who would later found Shas, proclaimed they are flesh of our flesh and bone of our bones. Welcome them aboard. Ovadia stood alone until Goren switched sides in 1974. Within a few years his ruling was adopted by the government and Israel is much the richer for it.
Mondrowitz got his citizenship in 1996 and made it that much harder to get rid of him. Who gave it to him? There are three possibilities. The first is Yuri Edelstein, the minister of immigrant absorption, former prisoner of conscience in the Soviet Union. I rule him out because he is Yuri Edelstein. The second is Eli Suissa, the interior minister, another Shasnik. The prime suspect. The third is a faceless bureaucrat who processed the request without knowing that the applicant was a fugitive on the lam and didn’t red flag him up the food chain. Whoever signed off on it I can’t see how the citizenship is legal.
Mondrowitz’s parents rode out WWII in Shanghai. Then they returned to their native Poland in 1946 where the bad seed apparently was born. They came to Israel, stayed a few years and took off. Either they didn’t request citizenship or later renounced it. In any event Mondrowitz was not a citizen until 1996 and could have been deported at any time, as Milo seemed to confirm. There are too many unanswered questions to even speculate on how Mondrowitz qualified for citizenship. He was a high-profile child molester, a fugitive from justice. The Law of Return allows refusing citizenship to anyone who may be a threat to public safety. I can’t see Edelstein, currently disapora minister, turning a blind eye to this. If Mondrowitz got citizenship through the naturalization process under the interior ministry of Suissa, he would have had to give up his American citizenship according to the rules. But the State Department issued an alert in 2000 that Mondrowitz may attempt to re-enter the US.
Nothing happened from then to 2007. The new extradition treaty came into effect. The authorities first went after Stefan Colmer, 30, an ultra-Orthodox computer technician who was charged with molesting two boys in Brooklyn. The judge ordered him extradited. Mondrowitz would be next.
Many believe that the only reason Mondrowitz avoided facing justice all those years was because he was protected by the ultra-Orthodox community in both Israel and Brooklyn. It can’t be otherwise but as proof they point at how quickly the authorities acted in the cases of Kenneth Frank and Michael Leon Zeve, both from California. They were extradited in 2005 before the new treaty went into effect. The Frank case doesn’t apply. He was a physician who raped two women and skipped out awaiting sentence in the 1989. They found him working as a doctor at a local clinic in Israel. (Like the others he was living under an assumed name. How he got his medical licence under these circumstances is another question.) In Zeve’s case the information is conflicting. He was a coach at a Wayne Gretzky Roller Hockey Center who molested boys there. On the eve of his trial he fled to Israel. One version of events is that a private eye, essentially a bounty hunter, located him. Another version is that he was arrested in Israel on suspicion of molesting children; a female acquaintance went on the Internet and found his real identity. They couldn’t use the old treaty but they did get him out of there tout de suite. How is not explained.
Under the new extradition treaty the state went after Mondrowitz, won in the lower court, lost in the Supreme Court in 2010. Mondrowitz was also charged with four counts of possession of child porno material, But inexplicably those charges were dropped. Haaretz reported at the time of his arrest in 2007, “Mondrowitz is currently devoting most of his energy, in the many leisure hours at his disposal, to the Internet. There he gratifies his deviant inclinations by watching clips of sadistic activity and pedophilic material. In his remaining time he makes a living by issuing bogus academic degrees to all comers, particularly to students from the Third World.” The New York Post added this year, “Multiple e-mails copied from his computer and turned over to the FBI show that Mondrowitz trolled child-porn web sites, buying access to titles such as ErectXboys, SchoolBoys, Boy Heaven and Boys Lagoon.” Since 2010 after the stunning loss in the Supreme Court there’s been not a peep out of the Israeli government on Mondrowitz and things are just as quiet in Brooklyn. What are the options open now to go after him?
If you don’t think anything can be done then you don’t understand what an ellipse is. The expression is “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” You see the word “try” twice but the three dots after the second try are omitted but understood. That makes it an ellipse; you may have to try 100 times. The same goes for the Torah law “justice, justice shall you follow.” That too is an ellipse. No ever said that getting justice was easy.
The Mondrowitz scandal because of the number of victims and the fact that it touches two countries is at least as large as the Penn State scandal. Do anything and it will explode into the news in both Israel and New York. This is an election year there and running up to one here. A lot can be done. For example if a candidate for office in Brooklyn wrote to the justice minister Yaacov Ne’eman and asked him what are his plans now following the Supreme Court ruling, that’s a story. If Ne’eman doesn’t reply, that’s a story. Whatever Ne’eman does say, that’s a story. Momentum builds.
I see three possible courses of action. I’ll take them from the least promising to the most. The first option is illegal in Israel so I will make the disclaimer that I am not advocating it, just reporting it.
Cross-border bounty hunters live by the fact that if they do abduct a fugitive in a foreign country and get him into court, US law turns a blind eye. Private citizens in Israel don’t have this right but for the security forces the tool is always available. The most famous cases are Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi, from Argentina in 1962 and Mordechai Vanunu, the atomic traitor, from Italy in 1986. Just last year Dirar Abu Sisi, an arms engineer who developed the Qassam rocket used by Hamas in Gaza, boarded a train in the Ukraine and the next thing he knew he was in an Israeli prison.
Both the Knesset and the interior ministry have the right to strip an undesirable of his citizenship and then deport him. We’ll start with the interior ministry. It’s been done once.
The Law of Return permits the state to deny citizenship to anyone deemed a threat to public safety. This was applied when Meir Lansky, the US gangster, showed up in 1970 after the FBI charged him with income tax evasion. Lansky and his chum from youth Lucky Luciano founded the National Crime Syndicate which for years ran organized crime in the US. Luciano and Lansky meshed because Luciano believed anyone could be a successful gangster, not just Italians. When he wiped out the capo di tutti capi (boss of bosses) Maranzano who stood in his way all five assassins were Jews. Unlike some criminals Lansky had actually some feeling for his people. One night during a rally for Hitler in NY he arrived with his boys, waded into the crowd, and knocked Nazis left and right. When Israel needed arms during the War of Independence and the US imposed an embargo, he arranged it with the waterfront unions in NY to look the other way. The government denied his citizenship request under the “threat to public safety” clause and the Supreme Court upheld it. Lansky was sent back, was acquitted at his trial, and lived out his days watching his life glamorized in the character Hyman Roth in “Godfather Part 2.”
In 1978 the government adopted what was called the continental system where states don’t extradite their citizens. The Nakash ruling didn’t put too much of a hole in that but then came the Russian mafia starting in 1990. They got into all the rackets, the most disturbing was a new one they introduced, human trafficking, and the most lucrative, money laundering. Globes in 2009 cited Wikileaks quoting a US ambassador as saying, “Sources in the police estimate that Russian organized crime has laundered as much as US $10 billion through Israeli holdings.” We don’t have the dates for that figure but until 2000 there was no law against money laundering in Israel so whatever was moved was legit. In the years following that law Russian activity in the underworld seemed to significantly decrease.
Anti-Semites are much agitated by the fact that there appear to be so many Jewish gangsters. It’s just that we are spread out in so many countries. I don’t think we’ve outdone the Italians. Besides that they have their history; we have ours. In the Middle Ages there were times when all the highwaymen in large sections of Germany were Jews. People used to restrict their travel to Saturdays when the highwaymen were at home with their families.
The police said there were 35 Russian mobsters who obtained citizenship in the 90s – at one point Israel threatened to deport 30. Fortunately the worst of them, Semion Mogilevich, arrived in 1990 with some of his top lieutenants, and left the next year. The Village Voice, quoting the FBI, called Mogilevich “the most dangerous mobster in the world.” Mogilevich has been involved in arms trafficking, prostitution, extortion and murder for hire, and everything else in between. Time quoted the FBI as saying “he can, with a telephone call … affect the global economy.” In 2009 the FBI placed him on its 10 Most Wanted list. He walks around Moscow with no worries since Russia does not extradite its citizens and the government there gives him a wide berth. The FBI has a reward on his head of $100,000 but he has more gunmen than a small army protecting him. Yes this one is a Jew but why the Israeli government even let him get off the plane boggles the mind. He remains entitled to carry an Israeli passport.
What is pertinent here is that Israel did strip one of these mobsters of his citizenship and deport him. His lawyer challenged the right of the interior minister, that’s Eli Suissa, to revoke citizenship and the Supreme Court had to rule whether the interior minister did indeed have this right. This Supreme Court ruling vindicated Suissa. The judgment is quite long and comprehensive touching on all the issues and constitutes an important precedent.
Anton Malevsky came here in 1994. He had a Jewish grandparent. He and his close friend Michael Cherney aka Mikhail Chernoy who came about the same time were involved in the “aluminium wars” then raging in Russia over control of the aluminium industry. People were being killed left, right, and centre.
The initiative against Malevsky came from the police in 1996. Fortune quoted the Russian interior minister describing Malevsky as “a leader of the Izmailovo crime family, one of the country’s oldest, biggest, and most vicious groups.” Our police as quoted in court documents said that Malevsky’s “organization is known as one that will stop at no violence including killing rivals to advance its objectives. … Malevsky himself stood behind a number of murders. He was involved in trafficking in large quantities of drugs, protection rackets, and more.” Since the guy is dead and can’t sue me I’ll add what they say about him on the sites that cover Russia crime. “He was a trigger man.”
Malevsky was stripped of his citizenship in 1998 and booted out of the country. Three years later he died in a skydiving accident in South Africa. Ynet reported his death with the speculation that he was bumped off. But he loved skydiving and was a daredevil. Witnesses said he tried a dangerous manoeuvre close to the ground and it went wrong. He was 32 years ago.
What they did with Malevsky the interior ministry now tried with his alter ego Cherney, cancel his passport while moving forward to strip him of his citizenship. Cherney is a very wealthy man; he’s worth north of a billion dollars, some say far north. The Independent cautioned that no one really knows. Cherney decided to act. In 1999 he purchased goods from a company owned by Avigdor Lieberman, the politician, today foreign minister, at a cost of $500,000. Not long after that Lieberman began moving heaven and earth in government circles to try to get Cherney back his passport. The police saw this as a quid pro quo, which is illegal, and charged him.
In 2004 the interior minister then, Avraham Porat, notified Cherney that he intended to strip him of his citizenship because as Haaretz reported he was involved in “murders and attempted murders.” About the same Cherney was called into a police station, at the request of Russian authorities, and told he was being investigated in connection with the murder of banker Vadim Yafyasov in 1995. But then Porat backed off, Cherney kept campaigning for his passport and finally in 2008 the Supreme Court gave it to him. He’s unlikely to travel far because the Interpol has a warrant out for him in connection with money laundering in Spain. Meanwhile the Lieberman, Cherney, police minuet continues to play on endlessly with ever new twists and turns but without any resolution.
What is pertinent here is that the interior ministry tried to strip two undesirables of their citizenship, succeeded in one case but the headwind was too strong in the other. If they ever did intend to go after 30 Russian gangsters as reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, they backed off that plan long ago.
In 2009 Damien Karlik, a man wanted for armed robbery in Russia, came to Israel with his wife Natalya, who had a Jewish grandparent. He got a job as a waiter at a restaurant operated by the Oshrenko family. He stole a bottle of vodka so they fired him. He became obsessed with seeking revenge. His wife went to work there and stole the house keys. When the parents, in their 30s, and the grandparents, in their 50s, and the children, both under the age of three, came home Karlik stabbed them to death, six murders in all.
Meir Sheetrit, a former interior minister, was asked, how could a man like this with an outstanding warrant be admitted into the country. He replied that the interior ministry is supposed to check criminal records of applicants but they don’t. “During my two years as minister, I wasn’t once presented with a case of a candidate who should be denied citizenship due to a criminal record.” Russia did formally ask for his extradition but out of 200 requests Israel receives each year maybe four are acted on.
In the Mondrowitz case I think the only way Israel would act via the interior minister is if there were a high level request from the State Department or Congress. Otherwise he’ll continue to be lost in the shuffle.
Trial In Israel
In the final paragraph of their judgment denying the extradition of Mondrowitz the Supreme Court judges exclaimed, you shoulda coulda tried Mondrowitz in Israel. Past tense. No suggestion of doing it in the future, but then why not?
The prototype for this option was the case of Samuel Sheinbein in 1999. Sheinbein, then 17, was a student at a Jewish day school in Maryland. He had a crush on a girl. She was dating another guy. Sheinbein decided to kill him, but first he wanted to practise on someone. He had a Jewish friend Aaron Needle, who always had problems in school getting kicked out one after the other.
Needle used to hang out with a Hispanic, Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr., who worked at a tropical fish store. One night they were cruising around with three girls and started exchanging racial slurs. Tello punched Needle, stopped the car and punched him again. But they were back together the rest of the week. Apparently Needle fingered Tello to Sheinbein as his practise dummy. They sliced and diced Tello, threw away the limbs never found and burned the body.
Sheinbein’s father, a lawyer, had been born in mandated Palestine but left Israel as a child. He still had an Israeli passport. Sheinbein, the son, headed for the Promised Land. He checked into a hotel, his brother brought him a prostitute, and after a few days of partying ended up overdosed in a hospital. That’s where the police found him. The family claimed he was an Israeli citizen.
Another can of worms. The government said he wasn’t a citizen. The grandparents had renounced their citizenship and the Law of Return had not yet been passed. The father couldn’t pass it on. The lower court ruled that the kid was a citizen.
Our Supreme Court seems to work on the principle that two wrongs make a right. In the Nakash case you had a man trying to rehabilitate himself with broad community support, the government deciding not to extradite him on the basis of the 1978 continental law, and the country France requesting him adhering to the same policy of not extraditing its citizens so it wouldn’t have hurt bilateral relations if Israel hadn’t turned him over. Yet the Supreme Court rode roughshod over all that and sent him away. In Sheinbein you had a character straight out of the “Clockwork Orange” movie that the government said wasn’t a citizen and meanwhile American politicians were incensed that Israel was not sending him back to Maryland for trial and the issue threatened to damage relations in a tangible way. Israel only has two friends in the world and no one knows how long Micronesia can stand the gaff. The country could not afford to alienate the Americans over a tangential issue like this. Yet the Supreme Court citing the 1978 law ruled he can’t be extradited. Oh yeah, what of that issue about the grandparents? The grandmother testified that her husband had forced her to renounce her citizenship. The judges even swallowed that. Sheinbein had to be tried here.
This was a logistical nightmare for Maryland. The law is different, the language is different, the system is different, that’s a huge distance to ferry maybe 50 witnesses and tons of documents which would have had to be translated. (Needle had hung himself in jail so he was out of the equation.) Sheinbein was facing life without parole in the US. He copped a plea and got 24 years, parole possibility after 16.
When Mondrowitz went to the lower court his lawyer tried to claim he was protected by the statute of limitations (theirs or ours I’m not sure). The court ruled that a fugitive cannot benefit from the statute of limitations. That means that the original charges stand and if the witnesses are still willing, they could try him on that evidence. What about the other victims? I don’t know the answer. I think a local trial is worth pursuing even if they just convict him on one charge. It seems to me the door is ajar here, but again the pressure has to come from over there. At least culture shock will be less of a problem for people coming from Brooklyn.
There is one other theoretical possibility to strip Mondrowitz of his citizenship which is so remote I don’t dignify it with a subhead. That would be a bill passed by the Knesset.
Agudath Israel is the umbrella organization for the ultra-Orthodox. There is no pope in Israel but what they say goes for these people. In Israel they have representatives in the Knesset and of course they rule the roost in Brooklyn.
In Brooklyn Hynes stung by criticism that he had given ultra-Orthodox sex pervs a free pass unleashed the dogs and in the last three years busted 85 child molesters, their 117 victims split between male and female; two of the pervs were yiddishe mamas. If in the past Agudath rabbis were more Catholic than the cardinals in covering up the crimes of paedophiles but now have come around half way; they encourage reporting incidents not to the authorities but to them. That’s known as the Penn State policy; we saw how that worked out there. The policy in the Torah, to which apparently they have exempted themselves, is called “not to be a respecter of persons.”
Jack the Ripper is still remembered because he killed a series of women in Britain and was never caught although it was not for the authorities lack of trying. Mondrowitz is Israel’s Jack the Ripper, an arch fiend who was never brought to justice. Agudath Israel must accept much responsibility for this happening; from the fact that none of his Jewish victims came forward until after the Italians did; that he found out that the police were coming; that no one in government except Milo wanted to come after him here aware Agudath was against it; that he’s been helped to find work in Israel; and on and on.
Agudath can make it right. If someone else introduced a bill in the Knesset to strip Mondrowitz of his citizenship, it would die in committee. If Agudath Israel did it, it would reach the floor and pass 120-0. It would be a statement of historic proportions.
How can this be made possible? If 50 righteous men in Agudath stood up and demanded it, it would be done. If there aren’t 50, perhaps 40. If not 40, perhaps 30. If not 30, perhaps 20. If not 20, perhaps 10. Actually if there were one righteous man in Agudath he could bring the others around.
Is there one righteous man in Agudath?
I’m not being entirely frivolous here. As Cervantes said, “Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.” It’s a slippery slope from accommodating a man who commits sodomy on defenceless children and being thought of as being accommodating to everything else that went on in the city that is the namesake of that word.