SCANDAL: Israel Student Visas Potentially in Jeopardy as “Wedding Fraud” Creates A Colossal Chillul Hashem

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(By: Rabbi Zvi Gluck)

I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Amudim has spent months working around the clock with various government agencies, to allow yeshiva and seminary students return to their studies in Israel. Baruch Hashem, the efforts were successful, but just like that, all that we have accomplished is potentially at risk.  As a result of the actions of the few who have created an unbelievable Chillul Hashem, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is strongly considering requiring all students to go through the standard process. This can take weeks, if not months, just to get a visa appointment. In case you think this isn’t a big deal, let me point out that there are over 14,000 yeshiva and seminary students and kollel couples learning in Israel each year. The current application process that gets them there is now in jeopardy.

How did this happen? Amudim has invested countless hours and resources to facilitate overseas travel in recent months. We have served as a liaison between private citizens and the Israel consulate, in addition to many other government agencies around the world. A group representing themselves as yeshiva students came to Amudim with all the required legal documentation, so we could help them apply for the student visas. David Kushner, Ushy Lieber, and I spent countless hours with them, reviewing more than 20 documents for each of the 30 plus student applicants. After thinking that everything was in proper order, we submitted the applications to the Israel consulate on Monday, June 14th.

We made it clear to these applicants that it can take up to a week to get the visas back. They were advised to not call or email the consulate because doing so would slow down the process. A red flag appeared on Tuesday morning, June 15th.  We received multiple frantic phone calls from some of the applicants. Additionally, the consulate advised us that they too were being besieged by many calls regarding the student visa status for the same school.

Here Is the Real Story: A high-profile wedding scheduled to take place in Israel next week was the reason for these applicants to find a way to enter Israel. Realizing that current travel restrictions make it extremely difficult for most people to get into Israel, some unethical individuals managed to get a yeshiva, which is approved by the Ministry of the Interior, and used it as a front to obtain student visas. The paperwork included documents signed by the head of the yeshiva confirming that the applicants would all be learning in that school for a minimum of one year. This is a blatant lie. Unbelievably, these individuals pulled every trick in the book to beat the system and attempt to get to Israel for this wedding.

 My personal message to each and every individual who participated in this fraud: In addition to tarnishing the reputation of Amudim and the Orthodox Jewish community, your reckless actions have caused immeasurable damage. We at Amudim are working tirelessly to ensure that this incident should not present additional obstacles for yeshiva and seminary students seeking to learn in Eretz Yisroel this coming year. We value and appreciate that the majority of those who seek our assistance do so in accordance with proper guidelines.

For information regarding approved reasons to go to Israel, and Instructions, click here: https://amudim.org/entrance-to-israel-advisory/

Amudim does not charge fees for any service we provide for the community. Should anyone claim that he/she was asked to pay for assistance, please email [email protected] right away, and let us know.

Zvi Gluck is the CEO of Amudim, an organization dedicated to helping abuse victims and those suffering with addiction, abuse, mental health matters, and other crisis-related issues, within the community, and has been heavily involved in crisis intervention and management for the past 21 years. Since the start of COVID, the Amudim team has also been involved in assisting thousands with various emergency travel needs, around the world, and mostly Israel-related.  For more information go to www.amudim.org.

L-R Rabbi Zvi Gluck Amudim, Yisroel Nitzan Consul General Israel Consulate in NYC and Rabbi David Kushner, Amudim (1)

30 COMMENTS

  1. Rules for thee but not for me.
    Thank you R’ Glick for all that you do and hopefully some people are inspired to look in the mirror.

  2. Isn’t אמת something that we’re obligated to? חותמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא is אמת. Are these people connected to Him? How could they! If they get caught they should be banned from entering the country for a five year period!

  3. It’s important to keep the proper perspective, that the Zionists are a bunch of thugs who invaded the holy land, not a legitimate “government”.

    Regardless, there is not any reason for the Zionists to punish Jews trying to go to the holy land just because some people tried to beat their “system”.

    Either way, it is certainly wrong for people to misuse Amudim and their services and to waste their time. And it is also wrong to falsely give anyone the impression that frum Jews are anything less than honest.

    But the Zionists are, in every way and always, the greater chillul Hashem by far.

  4. Stories like these make me furious and sick to my stomach. Why is it that some people think rules and regulations are just suggestions that one can get away with disregarding? These same people look at people who do obey rules, as naive idiots. This has been an attitude for a very long time and an attitude which has created many a chillul Hashem and has even landed some people in jail. This attitude killed many of our own during the height of COVID. This isn’t the shtetl of the 1700s. Rules are for everyone. Stop thinking of ways to outsmart the system!! Look at how much damage this attitude has caused in the past in in the present. SHAME ON YOU!!

  5. So predictable. You should have known this would happen without knowing how. This is why the fools that criticize Israel for having rules are the reshowim that will now cause tens of thousands of days of Torah learning to not happen.

  6. A high-profile wedding That high profile couple must be sent to prison, and never allowed to get married, under penalty of law. Of-course no reason why caterer should have to refund any money to the crooks having their wedding cancelled.
    Furthermore, the so called Yeshiva that engaged in this false paperwork, must be permanently shuttered, and the staff involved in the paperwork, sent to prison, for decades. anything less than this, is total lack of justice to authentic Yeshivas & students.

  7. is there any reason to put such a headline that is pure lashan hora , we yidden are better than this and dont have to stoop so low to air our dirty laundry
    and there is no toeles in reporting this at all . What yid does is tell them what they dud us unacceptable and don’t discuss it further. As to what will be repercussions, The Abishta will take care of all the yeshivlite next zman —
    saying sensational lashan hora is not our hishtadlus how we fix things . Emunah and Bitochon is the only way.

  8. Zvi Gluck is a great guy, and a very smart guy as well. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that he knew exactly what was going on. He got caught and is now trying to save face.
    I am sure he did not think that a bunch of 30 and 40 year olds were all of the sudden heading back to Yeshivah!

  9. Hakatan and BrooklynTrucker: Are you clowns serious or just out for a late evening troll?? If some idiots want to commit fraud to attend a chassanah and you think its OK?? The government employees who discovered the fraud should be commended. Also, who is this mystery couple whose wedding was the basis for jeopardizing the fast track clearance program for entry visas.

  10. Me thinks the way Gemoro is taught has educated kids to try think about
    how to overcome obstacles

    Perhaps more effort needs to go into
    when to use the logic Gemoro teaches

  11. You’re being naive if you think this a few cases. It’s WIDESPREAD. It’s just another example on the long list of actions undertaken by people who think secular rules don’t apply if you’re frum.

  12. Gavriel21,
    to stop these people we need to publicize their names, that way, we can put an end to all this nonsense. Obviously asking a Rav if it is allowed.
    “and there is no toeles in reporting this at all” -falsehood
    Major toeles indeed.
    All the gazlanim and mosrim would be put in their place when their names are on all the pashkevilen.
    Ridiculous how people get so frum all of a sudden. I have a feeling that gavriel maybe was involved??

  13. @147
    Really? The couple should be thrown in jail and not be allowed to marry? Your entire premise that the couple did ANYTHING wrong is baseless. Did you read anywhere in the article that couple was at all involved?

  14. HaKatan – Chilul haShem is not measured in relative terms.
    147 – you misunderstood the whole scenario. Those jerks were trying to ATTEND a certain high profile wedding.
    Gavriel21 – Don’t be such a tsaddik. They know what they’re doing, and why.
    Amudim – Keep up the good work, but next time, also keep up with the news. You should have seen this coming. You’ll know for next time: These guys have no moral compass at all.

  15. Does anyone know the true story or just basing it off this article SCANDAL?
    Before writing Lashon Hara do some research!! someone wanted his siblings by his sons wedding!!!! nothing to do with rabanoim!

  16. It seems like Amudim like many of the chesed organizations in our community
    are only looking to self promote themselves and let everyone know how much
    chesed they are doing…..and how great they are.
    When something goes wrong they are the first ones to point fingers at others
    and absolve themselves of any wrongdoing….because they are great…if you
    don’t believe it ask them and they will tell you how much good they do.

    Had they done the proper due diligence they should have been able to uncover
    the potential fraud that this group was trying to perpetrate….
    They failed and they should suffer the consequences…….
    Maybe they should stick to what they are qualified to do……and not jump
    all the over the place…

  17. @147

    Hashem should protect everyone who reads your blasphemous words and protect you from yourself.

    Regardless of what a yid may or may not have done, it’s not our place to say such things. EVER!!!!

    A yid who blesses another yid is blessed and woe should one ch”v do otherwise.

    We need calm and sense, not emotion and hate. May we merit a complete and speedy geulah sheleima b’karov mamesh!

  18. Three words. Dan lekaf zchus. Amudim does amazing chesed work and is to be applauded, but to blame these 15 when fraud is routinely performed in the student visa system is not fair. Everyone in Jerusalem knows the ins and outs of how to work the student visa system. You need a discount on your arnona, get a student visa. I know people that have lived here for 30 years on a student visa. They revisit their Rebbi and get a rubber stamp. The levels of compliance to the state within the Torah world are extremely varied, so to sit in judgment on one group’s practices is wrong. The Torah world needs to get used to a Zionist authority that severely dislikes them. Stop blaming each other. The real culprit is likely the MFA who are now free to implement policies that hurt the Torah community.

  19. All the commenters missed the key sentence : “The paperwork included documents signed by the HEAD OF THE YESHIVA confirming that the applicants would all be learning in that school for a minimum of one year. “

    Folks, this is not 15 people. If true this means that a Rosh Yeshiva knowingly provided false documentation, presumably for some compensation. Why don’t all you people reading this article realize how scandalous this is?