Friday, May 1, 2009

Israeli Yeshiva Student Gets Five Year Jail Term In Japan


I feel very badly that these boys have to serve time, but I mostly I feel badly that they ever did the crime.

OK, so they didn’t know there were drugs in the cases. Instead, they believed they were carrying illegal antiquities? And . . . It would be OK to carry illegal antiquities in the bottom of a suitcase? Whose antiquities? What culture did they think they were robbing of their heritage? Why would they have thought that such an act would be OK?

Also, I have a general issue with everyone thinking these Yeshiva boys are so “innocent to the ways of the world.” Hello. Haven’t they been studying the wisdom of the greatest men who ever lived? Haven’t they been wrapping their brains around every possible crime, rude behavior, interesting problem that the world has ever encountered?

I guess we don’t expect them to ever apply that to real life? We don’t think that they have the capacity to understand it on a real-world level. We think they have their heads in the clouds?

This seems very strange.

They aren’t studying rocket science, they are studying the human condition. Yeshiva studies are about how to live in the world.

If anything, these boys should be wiser to the ways of the world, not more innocent. I know that I have seen great changes and wonderful wisdom from my sons who have been in Yeshiva in Israel.

Of course, it doesn't add maturity. That cannot be gained in any way but through experience, and the foolishness of youth is that they always think they should be the exception.

Yes, the boy who was arrested was only 17 at the time, and I think that he can be considered foolish like all teens are foolish, but if he is a Yeshiva student, he should have gained some wisdom from all that study.

And, while we are on the subject, can we be honest for a moment? There is a serious drug problem in the Yeshivas in Israel. Everyone knows it. Every time a new Yeshiva opens that promises to be drug-free, all the parents send their drugged out kids there hoping that they will straighten out, and then the new Yeshiva is ruined by drugs.

I don't know what the answer to the drug problem in Yeshivas is, but I know that we should be working on one instead of looking the other direction and hushing it up. I don't want my kids to turn into drug addicts because I sent them to study, and I don't think anyone else does either.

How long will it be before the Rosh Yeshivas begin to face this issue and find solutions? They have also studied these books of wisdom. Don't you think they, above all people, should be able to find the solution?

My suggestion is that we should have a similar situation to that in college--there should be staff living with and among the students to make sure they follow the rules. In most Yeshivot, there are no staff members living in the dorms. This leaves the young men to their own devices, and they will find a way to get into trouble.

I am sure that it would be much harder to cover up the smell of pot when a staff member is living next door than it is when the staff member only comes in at 9:30 a.m. after minyan.

These young people need clear role models and some strong enforcement.

Hopefully, the young boys in Japan will grow and mature in the new situation they find themselves in. I don't doubt that Hashm has taught them a lesson much more profoundly than their Rosh Yeshiva has.

Israeli Yeshiva Student Sentenced to Prison in Japan
by Maayana Miskin

( An Israeli yeshiva student has been sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to smuggle drugs into Japan. The student said he was taken advantage of by a friend and did not know that the suitcase he was carrying contained drugs.

The student's Hebrew name is Yosef ben Ita Rivka. His full name has not been released because he was 17 at the time of the offense. He was arrested along with two friends, also teenagers, with whom he was traveling at the time.

The three contended that they had no intention of smuggling drugs and said they were given false-bottomed suitcases filled with drugs by a man they trusted. They said they thought they were carrying legal antiques.

Drug Pusher 'Lived a Double Life'
The man who allegedly conned the young men into transporting illegal drugs, 32-year-old Bentzion Miller, has been arrested in Israel. Miller, a well-known member of an Israeli Chassidic community, apparently has ties to the Abergil crime family.

Miller “lived a double life,” Israeli police said last month, acting like a religious Jew externally while smuggling and marketing huge quantities of drugs.

Since the arrest of the three students in Japan, several other young hareidi-religious men have come forward and told police that Miller attempted to talk them into transporting suitcases as well.

Israeli officials informed Japanese police that the three young students apparently did not know what they were carrying. In addition, the three young men passed lie-detector tests showing they were unaware that the bags they transported contained drugs.

Yosef Hopes for Early Release, Extradition
Japanese prosecutors asked the court to sentence young Yosef to 10 years in jail, the maximum sentence allowed. Instead the court gave a sentence of five years, the maximum that the young man could have received if the case had been heard in family court instead of criminal court.

The young man expects to be released early due to good behavior. In addition, the 266 days he has already sat in prison will be counted toward his sentence, meaning that he could be out of jail in just over two and a half years.

Senior members of the Chassidic community to which the young men belong are working to have the three extradited to Israel. However, Japanese law does not allow for extradition to Israel, and even if a judge approves to the transfer the law would need to be changed first.

Families of the three young men have asked for prayers for their sons, whose Hebrew names are Yosef ben Ita Rivka, Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel, and Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava.

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