Israel has become a safe haven for Jewish pedophiles from around the world, a leading advocate for child sexual abuse victims warned Monday at a Knesset committee pre-hearing on pedophilia in the ultra-Orthodox community.
According to Manny Waks, the chief executive officer of Kol v’Oz, a newly formed nonprofit that aims to prevent child sexual abuse in the global Jewish community, sex offenders tend to move from country to country to avoid jail.
What makes Israel unique is the Law of Return, which essentially grants unhindered access to anyone who is Jewish to come here without any real screening. The Law of Return grants automatic citizenship in Israel to those who meet its definition of a Jew.
Waks was raised in Melbourne, Australia where he attended Yeshiva Center, a school run by the Chabad movement. Years later, he reported that he had been sexually abused by two members of the staff there.
Waks and his family, who have since been featured in several Australian documentaries, were ostracized by the local Chabad community for coming out publicly with their story.
Along with representatives of several other groups active in preventing child abuse in the Jewish community, Waks met with MK Yifat Shasha-Biton, chair of the Knesset Special Committee for the Rights of the Child.
Among those accused of sexual abuse who have fled to Israel, Waks cited the prominent case of Malka Leifer, the former principal of a religious girls’ school in Melbourne, who allegedly assaulted eight of her students.
Waks noted several other cases of pedophiles and alleged pedophiles from the USA, Britain and the Netherlands who had fled to Israel either after being charged or to avoid being charged.
Some have already been extradited back to their home countries where they are serving jail sentences. According to research data, one in five children in Israel experiences sexual abuse.
It seems to us Israel is increasingly becoming a refuge for pedophiles and alleged pedophiles,” said Waks. “It’s an easy get-out-of-jail card for them.” Waks, who is married with three children, recently moved back to Israel, where he was born and served in the army.
Kol v’Oz is pushing for the Knesset to extend the statute of limitations on sexual crimes, to allow victims a longer window to file complaints.
The Millennium Report.com / ABC Flash Point Child Abuse News 2018.