BREAKING NEWS: Second Yeshiva Bochur Sentenced In Japan


1:49AM EST: YWN has just learned that just moments ago, the verdict was given to Yakov Yosef ben Reizel, one of the bochurim detained in Japan.

The prosecutor had requested a 13 year prison sentence (including forced labor), while the defense attorneys requested a full acquittal. Of the 13 years demanded by the prosecution, he received 6 years. Being that he already sat 2/3 of 2 years, the remainder of his sentence is 4 years.

Askonim are confident that he will be transferred to Eretz Yisroel in the immediate future. Once there, they are hopeful that the Israeli Government will deduct another 2 years.

The tzibur is requested to continue davening for: Yosef ben Ita Rivka (recently transferred to an Israeli prison to serve another 18 months), Yoel Zev ben Mirel Reesa Chava (trial scheduled to start at the end of May, and still in imprisoned in prison) and Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel.
Further details will be posted as soon as they are available to us.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Everyone should start saying NO! when asked to carry items for others that are not small and shown to the carrier who should then inform security at the outgoing airport that he is carrying a package for a friend and let them examine it as well. No valises though as they cannot be examined. This does nothing to take away from the rachmonus we all have for these three innocent bochurim. We must learn from our mistakes though.

  2. How sad. May hashem help them all carry through this. And if moshiach comes today, they’re free!!
    And avreimi, ur so right. THAT’S the lesson here. Yes, we shld do things lzchusam, but we have hopefully all learned not to take others pckges overseas.
    There’s a mail system for a reason.

  3. I am delighted that the news for this young man is good. I am, nonetheless mystified by the priorities of the frum community.

    Why is there virtually no mention of Gilad Shalit in the mainstream of the frum community? However unfortunate the predicament of these three chassidishe bachurim, they cannot be said to represent the Jewish people on any sort of national scale. Gilad Shalit, on the other hand, in defending the Holy Land and its inhabitants, was abducted not for any crime nor with any specific target on him as a person. He was taken as a representative of the Jewish people and has remained in much greater danger and much more adverse conditions than these three boys.

    Yet, nowhere, do I see y’mei tefillah… Nowhere on YWN has there ever been a posting giving his name (Gilad ben Aviva) asking concerned parties to daven… Nowhere, have there been soundtrucks in frum neighborhoods asking for rachamei Shamayim… Never has there been a kinus in Brooklyn or Lakewood.

    How can we be so callous? Is it simply that he is chiloni and we are chassidish? Is this the reason that we care about alleged criminals (which we should) but not innocent heroes? Is there any justification for these warped priorities? How can we ask for rachamei shamayim if we do not show rachamim ourselves?

    I do not seek to “put down” anyone. This is a call for a re-prioritization. It is a call for love, where love has been missing. Often it takes contrast to understand, and the contrast of the Gilad ben Aviva story with the Yosef Yaakov ben Raizel story has revealed our collective indifference and our myopic focus on only those who are most like us.

    Harachaman Hu yerachem al Gilad ben Aviva b’soch sh’ar shvuyei Yisroel!

    Moderators Response: This is not true. Use the search box located at the top left corner of the YWN homepage….

  4. Hashem Yeracheim!! We should keep them in mind, always. I’m cleaning my living room for the third time these past 10 days, and will not cry about that. These boys’ mother have what to cry about. Hashem should free them all from bondage still this year before Pesach, the holdiday of redemption. Halevay!! and all of us, may we be zoche to bring the Karbon Pesach all together in Yerushalayim Habenuyah. AMEN V’AMEN.

  5. I receieved this update from one of the team in Japan:

    Dear All,

    I apologise for my blunt message sent from the courtroom during the court session a few hours ago. I have now had the time to provide you with a detailed report, shedding light on several factors of the case.

    We have a lot to be thankful to H-ashem: Statistics of Japanese conviction rate stand at 97.8% of all indictments.
    It is extremely rare for judges to pass verdict of less than half of the sentence recommended by the prosecutor. Klal yisroel’s tefillos have accomplished so much.

    The verdict was based on cold logic, and assumptions. Only circumstantial evidence exists.
    There is no objective evidence that shows the state of mind of the defendant and his clear knowledge of the contents of the suitcase he was transporting.

    Enormous efforts were invested in accumulating the defence teams arguments, 120 pieces of subjective / supportive evidence, and several expert testimonies. However, ultimately the judges concluded that the defendant could have had some very slight doubt about the contents of the suitcase, and this, in their opinion, is sufficient to pass a guilty verdict, but not enough proof of knowledge to deserve a higher sentence as recommended by the prosecutor or even close to his recommended sentence.

    According to the amount of illegal substances that were carried into Japan, the initial prosecutors recommendation of 13 years is reasonable. However, the judges aren’t confident in their own conscience and therefore gave less than 50% of the prosecutors recommendation.
    Also interrelated to the judges decision is the fact that handing down a low sentence lowers the risk of the judges losing face at an appeal stage at the Higher court, since defense will probably not appeal. (In other words, the presiding judges would be afraid of an appeal because of the weakness of the fact finding structure and their evaluation of evidence. In a trial of a foreigner, giving a low sentence is a kind of incentive to the defence team not to appeal, because in theory this would delay a transfer process to the defendants home country.

    5) There are many grounds for an appeal, amongst others, concerning the results of the Polygraph examination. The judges relied on a junior examiners opinion, which everyone in the court realised during her several testimonies, was very unreliable.

    Yakov Yosef has shown unfathomable emunah throughout this ordeal. Emunah of such a level that baffles the askonim who meet with him regularly. Now, after hearing his sentence, his emunah is un shaken.
    Whist being led out of the courtroom, handcuffed, he charmfully and politely waved unconspiciously to the minyan of Yidden in attendance, in gratitude of them coming to show solidarity.

    Rabbi Dunner and Rabbi Nezri accompanied the senior defense attorneys to visit Yakov Yosef immediately after the court session was adjourned. Yakov Yosef was in strong spirits and said that this sentence was a nitzachon (victory) and nisayon that he accepts in his stride.

    Likewise his parents and siblings have demonstrated tremendous emunah and tzidkus.

    May H-ashem give Yakov Yosef and his family the strength to pull through this tribulation, and give the askonim chizuk, spritual and emotional, to continue their tedious efforts for the welfare of the bochurim.

    In summary:

    Of the 13 years recommended by the prosecutor, Yakov Yosef received a verdict of 6 years.

    From the six years are deducted 500 days, i.e. 70% reckoned from time already served in detention since his arrest.

    Hopefully, Yakov Yosef’s transfer to Israel won’t take too long.

    Once in Israel, Israel will reckon the time already served in detention as a full two years).

    Furthermore, Israel can deduct another 2 years (1/3 of sentence).

    On the other hand, a full acquittal would have meant a definite appeal by the prosecutor, meaning up to another 2 years in Japan, and risk of chas vesha-lom receiving the full recommended 13 year sentence.

    Therefore this is probably the best scenario bechasdei H-ashem.
    Many thanks for klal yisroels tefillos, support & encouragement. The achdus has caused a great kidush H-shem.

    Tomorrow, Thursday, the askonim are reconvening with the defence attorneys to evaluate the situation and discuss future strategy.

    Please continue to daven for the welfare of Yoel Zev ben Mirel Rissah Chaveh whose trial will take place after Pesach, and for the welfare of Yakov Yosef ben Reizel and Yosef ben Itah Rifka who are both incarcerated.

    Shenishma Besuros Tovos.

  6. #5 so so true.
    Baruch Hashem the natl council of Young Israel and perhaps OU and Agudah, once or twice did ask for Yemi Tefillah. Moderator there was never American/European/Israeli askanim involved in renting out Ateres Chinka or any other venue for yemi tefillah and teshuva. Yeshivas did not come home with requests for tefillah, tzedakah or tshuva as they did for M. Grossman z”l or these bochurim.

    Be honest, realistic and accurate. The mantra of “”Vahavta L’rayacha Kamocha” is depended very much on who people consider there ‘Rayacha’….

  7. Can someone explain to me something, i dont understand why they are saying that israel can deduct 2 years, cant israel just throw the whole thing out and let them walk free? what am i missing?

  8. #10 Eric – I don’t know this as a fact, but I would guess that if Israel let them go free right away, then if, chalila, anything like this ever happened again, Japan (or whatever country, using this as a precedent) would NOT allow the individual to go back to Israel to (supposedly) finish their prison term there. They would keep them incarcerated IN Japan (or wherever).

  9. #10, oh my goodness!! are you dense? If Israel does that, you can kiss ALL relations with Japan buh-bye. I won’t even bother explaining it in detail, cause you probably wouldn’t understand it anyway. Stick to matza baking….and have a great Yom Tov.

  10. Moderator, what part is not true? I searched BEFORE posting and saw that there was news coverage, but nothing with any sort of religious or responsibility overtone…

  11. I agree re. the comments on Gilad Shalit. We have no idea how much they are torturing him daily. We have no idea when, if ever, he’ll be freed. He doesn’t have gedolim visiting him like these three bochurim do. We don’t even know if he’s alive. His life is serious danger every minute. Where are our tears for Gilad ben Aviva?? Where are our tears for his parents, nebach??

  12. So, as long as he is allowed to finish his sentence in Israel (especially with another 2 years deducted), the defense sounds better off not appealing.

    However, if after final sentencing, the rulling
    G-d forbid is not to allow him to finish his sentence in Israel, then perhaps they might as well, appeal, especially if the prosecution’s case is a bit shaky as it sounds like it might be.

    This is not to say that 4 years in any prison even in Israel, is anything to look forward to.

    But at least he can be visited by family more easily, and it should be easier to learn Torah and daven and get kosher food.

    In fact, if he spends his time in prison, dilligently learning as much as possible;
    He might wind up doing nearly as well in learning as he might have done in yeshivah.

    This could mean, that those years would be productive, even under the far less then ideal conditions, that a prison term, represents.