Yerushalayim: Suspected Cult Leader Ramati To Be Released To House Arrest


Two weeks after Aharon Ramati was arrested for operating a cult in Jerusalem, the Magisterial Court of Yerushalayim instructed for Ramati to be released to house arrest at his home in Safed. Ramati will be supervised by his son and has to have guarantors deposit checks with the court.

Complying with a request made by the police, the judge delayed the release until tomorrow.

Previously the police had requested an extra five days to enable them to finish their investigation. Judge Eleazar Bialin gave them two, and then today issued the release for tomorrow.

A police investigator said that the request for the extension came in light of new evidence in the case. Judge Bialin said: “While the evidence strengthens the case against Ramati, it does not do so in a significant way. The suspicions of keeping people in slave-like conditions and harming children are still intact.”

Bialin also said that “since the suspect has been kept under arrest for an elongated time and there is a strong possibility that the investigation has already been tampered with, there is reason to change the conditions of the incarceration of the suspect.

The house arrest will last 11 days and Ramati will be prohibited from contacting in any way any of the other suspects involved in the suspected cult for the next two months. Furthermore, Ramati will not be allowed to use the internet or any social media for the next two months and he is prohibited from holding a smartphone for the next month.

Ramati has been asked for 10,000 NIS to be released, another personal commitment for 50,000 NIS and three guarantors each giving 20,000 NIS in order to enforce the above conditions.

The police have appealed the decision to the district court and the Judge acquiesced to their appeal thus delaying the actual release until tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.

As YWN previously reported, the case began with reports to the Jerusalem District’s Fraud & Economic Crime Unit about the existence of a closed community operating as a “girls’ school,” at which women live together with their children in cramped and squalid living conditions in a housing complex under the control of a man suspected of abusing the women and children physically, financially and emotionally.

Over the past two months, police investigators, together with the State Prosecutor’s Office, conducted an undercover investigation and gathered evidence against Ramati of maintaining absolute control over about 50 women, coercing them to cut off contact with friends and family and isolating them in the complex. It was also found that Ramati maintained control over the women through various “punishments” and exploited them financially, with women working in various jobs approved by Ramati and then handing over their wages to Ramati.

Aharon Ramati, a name infamous in Jerusalem’s Chareidi circles, has been arrested at least once before under similar allegations when running the Be’er Miriam “seminary” in Sanhedria and other locations. There have been allegations against him for at least a decade for housing teenaged girls in squalid living conditions and maintaining cult-like control over them. There was even a protest against him by Chareidi residents of Sandhedria and nearby neighborhoods about five years ago. Prior police investigations led to Ramati’s arrest and the seminary being closed down in 2013 and 2015.

Unfortunately, Ramati was let out of the jail each time and the police investigations were closed for lack of evidence and Ramati would just open another “seminary” in another location.

Many many years ago, both Hagaon Harav Elyashiv z’tl and Hagaon Harav Ovadia Yosef,z’tl signed statements condemning Ramati as dangerous and forbidding girls from studying under him.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)