The trial of Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava Goldstein, the third Chassidishe youngster imprisoned in Japan, is currently in session. Askonim are being cautiously optimistic. On the first day of questioning, Rav Levy, Mashgiach of Satmar Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, took the stand. He testified about the excellent character of the boys, and how they were considered among the top students in the Yeshiva. He also noted that the boys asked permission from the hanhallah before they traveled. Permission was granted, as everyone was under the impression that the boys were to be transporting Judaica antiques.
Yoel Zev was brought to the witness stand shortly afterwards. He seemed quite confident and self assured. At one point in the trial, the prosecution began questioning him about his knowledge of the secular world. He was asked about sports, celebrities, and athletes. It was apparent that he had no clue about what any of these were.
The judge himself joined in the questioning, asking Yoel Zev if he had ever heard of the Olympics. Yoel Zev answered that he did indeed hear of it, and that he thought it was a type of car. With that answer, the entire courtroom, including the judge, burst into laughter. It became obvious that Yoel Zev and his friends indeed lived sheltered lives and had no knowledge of even the most basic worldly matters. Certainly, they were completely innocent of any knowledge of illegal drug trafficking.
For reasons unknown to the askonim who are involved in this case, a new judge was assigned to Yoel Zev’s trial just last week. The askonim are optimistic. The judge seems to be very interested in the facts and details of the case, and it is hoped that he will render a fair and honest judgement.
Meanwhile, klal yisroel is urged to continue davening on behalf of Yoel Zev. As today is the yahr-zeit of Rachel Imeinu, it is a day that is especially auspicious for our tefillos to be answered favorably. As this young man’s life literally hangs in the balance, it is incumbent on each of us to storm the Heavens on his behalf.
In regards to the sentences of the other Bochrim: The Japanese court sentenced Yosef Banda to 5 years imprisonment and a $40,000. He was transferred to Israel to complete his sentence in March of 2010. After calculating time served, he still has a bit over 13 months that will be completed in the Nitzan Prison in Israel.
Yakov Yosef ben Reizel was sentenced to 6 years with no drug charges, only for being negligent. His appeal trial is scheduled for November 1.
The tzibur is requested to continue including Yosef ben Ita Rivka, Yoel Zev ben Mirel Reesa Chava and Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel in tefillos.
IMPORTANT NOTE: CLICK HERE TO BE MEKAYEM PIDYON SHIVUYIM IN ASSISTING THE BOCHRIM STILL IN JAPAN PRISON!!
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(Yehuda Drudgestein – YWN)