Moshe Benedek, the Israeli businessman who was abducted in Brazil last week, spoke about his frightening experience to Channel 12 News.
Benedek left his office in Sao Paulo on Thursday on the way to a dinner he planned with his daughter. When Benedek never showed up, his daughter began calling relatives and friends to try to locate him.
Meanwhile, Benedek had been kidnapped by local criminals. “They forced me into the back seat of their car and right away, they gave me a strong blow to my head with a gun and I began bleeding. Blood was running down my face and on my clothes.”
The kidnappers drove to a remote part of the city, where they led Benedek into an abandoned house. “To my surprise, I get out of the car, covered with blood, and I see a typical Brazilian field with children playing soccer. They led me across the field to a dilapidated house and put me in a room. They sat me on a chair and immediately removed my shoes and put something on me so I couldn’t move my hands and a mask over my face so I couldn’t see.”
Benedek sat in the closed room for hours. “They let me drink water and use the bathroom so I didn’t think they were going to kill me. On the other hand, I saw that they were very pressured and they were under the influence of hard drugs. Nervousness, drugs, and a gun at my head don’t go well together and I realized any mistake could lead to death. I understood I was mamash in a situation of pikuach nefesh.”
“I tried to stay calm and I started thinking about what I should say and what I shouldn’t say. They right away checked my phone to see if I had a cryptocurrency app or something similar. They started being violent when they saw I didn’t because they wanted to make a bank transfer.”
After almost 20 grueling hours, Benedek was released after the Brazilian police assisted Benedek’s family members in negotiating with the kidnappers. Israeli diplomats and friends and neighbors in Israel assisted behind the scenes.
“I want to thank each person who helped – whether through tefillos or taking action in Brazil and in Israel,” Benedek said. “If there’s one positive thing in the whole story, it’s how many people my life was important to. It gave me strength to continue life and do good things.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)