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AGAIN: Multiple Chareidim Arrested For Smuggling “Khat” Substance In Europe – Including Yeshiva Bochur, Young Girls

Ten Israelis, most of them Chareidim, including three minors, were arrested in Europe last week in the cities of Vienna, Copenhagen and London for attempting to smuggle dozens of kilograms of Khat in their suitcases.

Two 19-year-old Chareidi girls from Jerusalem and a 17-year-old yeshivah bochur were arrested in Copenhagen, Denmark for attempting to smuggle Khat into the country, Chareidim10 reported. Each one had over 20 kilograms in their possession.

The yeshivah bochur doesn’t speak English and the investigators are speaking to him with the help of Google Translate. Rabbi Yitzchok Loewenthal, the Chabad shaliach in Copenhagen, has become involved in the case.

According to a Mako report on Sunday, in recent years Israeli criminal organizations have discovered the financial potential of Khat and began renting land on settlements throughout Israel and paying farmers to grow Khat for them. In the past three years, the criminal organizations have operated dozens of networks of Khat smugglers from Israel to Europe.

[Many Yeshiva Bochrim Recently Arrested In Europe For Smuggling “Khat” Substance From Israel]

There is great demand for Khat in Europe and one kilogram can be sold for between $1,000 – $1,500, which means that 30 kilograms of Khat which a young Israeli smuggles into Europe are worth between $30,000 – $45,000, with most of the money ending up in the pockets of the criminals. Police investigators believe that criminal organizations are pocketing $72 million every year from smuggling Khat.

Israeli police say that criminal organizations employ hundreds of young Israelis to smuggle Khat from Israel into Europe, ages 17 – 40. “The criminals take advantage of the financial situation of yeshivah students and young Ethiopians in order to smuggle Khat into Europe without revealing to them…[the dangers involved]” an Israeli police investigator said. “They take advantage of their naivete in order to make a lot of money on their backs.”

[Chareidi Girls Arrested in England for Smuggling “Khat” Substance From Israel]

In the past year, four Chareidi Israelis, two females and two males have been arrested in Denmark for smuggling Khat. In their cases, they received light sentences of only ten days in prison, although in actuality they were in prison for about two months due to the time it took to complete the investigations, the trials and the deportation proceedings.

Six Chareidi Israelis are in prison in France for smuggling Khat, with some already in jail for a half a year with their trials not yet completed. France also sentenced Khat smugglers to light sentences in the past but as the incidents increased its policy changed. The incidents of smuggling Khat are now being handled by an investigative judge who has up to a year to investigate each case.

[AGAIN: Chareidi Girls Arrested in Oslo For Smuggling “Khat”; Scheduled for Deportation ON SHABBOS]

The Israeli Foreign Ministry reported that Israeli operators are convincing young Israelis to pay for their first trip abroad by smuggling Khat. In the past, the Foreign Ministry stated that most of the young Israelis arrested are from struggling families who have dropped out of educational frameworks and who are easily taken advantage of by the operators.

“The Foreign Ministry has information of over 90 Israelis who were arrested in similar circumstances since November 2018. Some of them are still imprisoned, including an Israeli who was sentenced to 10 years of jail in Turkey,” the Foreign Ministry said.

[70 Israelis In Prison Around the Globe for Smuggling Khat Substance – MANY Of Them Chareidim]

The Foreign Ministry has published numerous warnings to young Israelis to resist the temptation of smuggling Khat “because it could end in a prolonged prison term in a foreign country, steep [legal] expenses for the family and emotional suffering to the detainee.”

[Chareidi Minor Who Smuggled “Khat” Substance Is Released From Ireland After 3 Months]

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

15 Responses

  1. Only in Israel the authorities are not doing anything to stop this dangerous scam! When will they come to their senses?
    Or perhaps because it’s only the chareidim being caught, so why bother…

  2. This new item should be reported in all the mainstream Chareidi press in Israel so as to alert and educate the target audience of these dealers. There’s no point pretending it does not happen and sweeping it under the carpet.

  3. the gemara was right of course. If a father does not teach his child a profession, he is teaching the child to steal. why act surprised?

  4. How many times can Chareidim play the “I’m-too-stupid-to know-what-I-was-doing” card before this becomes a major chilul Hashem? And are the Chareidi yeshivas and cheders doing anything to address this phenomenon?

  5. terrible situation but you need some subtle facts before you jump; and yes the isrealis with the best intelligence should be able to end this
    as a parent i cant imagine getting a call from some country your son is in jail for …. now what who do u call….
    YET MOST OF THESE TEENS – dont listen to their parents as the article hints and more in isreali sites these are teen drop outs – who think they are smarter and will beat the system and when they get caught they call MOMMY … so vus tit men

  6. @DrYidd:
    I have never met you, as far as I know, and have possibly never heard of you. You therefore certainly deserve the benefit of the doubt that you have made some very honest and innocent mistakes.
    1) Simply because the article refers to the alleged smugglers as chareidim does not say anything about the chinuch their parents have given them. (“If you don’t teach them a profession…”) We are well aware that the anti-chareidi media outlets – which includes many journalists who are themselves shomrei Torah u’mitzvos – use the term chareidi to describe anyone from religious zionists to seventh generation residents of Meah Shearim. As long as the boy has a yarmulke and the girl has a skirt, if they allegedly behaved in a way which is contrary to the Torah – which of course nobody except the biggest rasha or hypocrite would do – he/she is a chareidi.
    2) How many 19 year old girls and 17 year old boys are, even in the most socially progressive countries/societies, are typically in the work force? To say they allegedly behaved the way they are being accused of behaving is because they were not taught a profession, is a perhaps logically unsound.
    3) The Gemora teaches us that Torah IS an umnis (a profession).

    Since I am quite certain you do not hate these or any Yidden, think your comments over. Perhaps you will consider retracting them.

  7. All Yeshiva students should be warned very sternly against taking anything with them that is not theirs when traveling. If they are caught with anything they should know that they will loose the rest of their lives. No favors for any one (even close friends) if they can’t fully inspect and see what is inside. In the airports, never take anything from anyone even if only for a moment.
    All Mechanchim must warn all their students of what is the new reality today. Any shtick can cost them their life in a prison cell under extremely harsh conditions.

  8. Were they on their way to a gardening exhibition??? Lock them up & throw away the key for a couple of years. There needs to be stern consequences that are publicized in every Yeshiva, HS & Seminary. I have ZERO sympathy for drug smugglers, because that’s what they are. Remember the 3 boys in Japan? We all davened for years for them & celebrated wildly on their release. But now it’s epidemic & unlike in the Japan case, these kids are knowingly smuggling. I also don’t think they deserve special religious considerations (apart from Tefillin & Kosher food). They need to take responsibility & if they act like criminals they should be treated as such.

  9. Let’s put the blame where it belongs on them. They are getting paid yes paid large sums to carry this. And it’s nothing new It’s always easier to blame others but sorry it’s us

  10. Thousands of “charedim” travel each year and don’t smuggle, unfortunately the very few who make it into the news. We “charadim” are law abiding and not stupid or ignorant. The ones who are doing it have only themselves to blame. Please stop bashing the klal!

  11. David, why should the Israeli authorities do anything? How is it Israel’s problem that the Europeans have decided to ban qat? When the US banned the importation of alcohol, did the Canadian authorities do anything to stop the rum-runners?

    DrYidd, how are they stealing?

    Huju, how should these kids have known how serious a crime this is considered in Europe? Even if they knew it was illegal there, they must think of it like a parking ticket. Tell me, a few years ago when it was illegal to import Materna to the USA, didn’t every other frum person traveling from Israel to the US with some spare suitcase room bring Materna for their friends and families? Nobody thought it was a terrible thing. And nobody got into trouble for it. From the viewpoint of an Israeli teenager, especially one who doesn’t watch TV or read much about European news, how should they distinguish these two cases? How should they know that if they’re caught they won’t be let off with a small fine?

    So yes, they need to be told these things, because it’s completely natural that they should not know it by themselves.

  12. Swings, what makes you think this is a chilul hashem? Don’t you think the European authorities know very well that qat is legal in many countries?

  13. Eric, indeed, but this is not such a stupid game. There are legitimate reasons for them not to understand into what serious trouble this can get them. There needs to be a campaign to inform them, because it’s not something that should be obvious.

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