Police Arrest 21 People in Suspected ‘HaPeles’ Extortion Ring


pelesFollowing months of investigation, Israel Police on Wednesday night 4-5 Nissan arrested 21 people suspected of involvement in a blackmail ring. The suspects are reportedly all affiliated with the so-called Yerushalmi branch, the Bnei Torah party headed by HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Auerbach Shlita. It is alleged that during the last year they harassed, threatened, and extorted senior managers and executives from large companies and government companies in an effort to persuade them to advertise in the party-affiliated ‘HaPeles’ newspaper.

Twenty-one people were arrested after police investigated complaints of threats and harassment via telephone, email and fax. Arrests were made in the capital, Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Yerucham, and Modi’in Illit. The police message to the media read “Following an undercover investigation for the past half year the Fraud Division of the Jerusalem District arrested 21 suspects around Israel. The suspects during the past year allegedly harassed, intimidated and threatened senior executives in companies and government companies in an effort to compel them to advertise in HaPeles”.

According to the evidence gathered by police, the efforts to compel others to advertise in the newspaper go back as far as two years. Some of the people who turned to police are active in Yahadut Hatorah.

Police officials explain that those in custody would call the “struggle hotline” daily and identify themselves with a code name, password and caller ID from their phone number, and only then would they receive the day’s assignment. They were instructed to harass and intimidate. The recipients received hundreds of calls, faxes and emails, so much so that it interfered with their ability to conduct business as usual.

The harassment in some cases led to the companies canceling ads elsewhere in the hope of turning off the calls, faxes and emails.

Police add that 200 policepersons were involved in the arrests, including detectives, Yassam commando police, border police and undercover agents. The suspects were taken to the Lahav 433 (FBI) headquarters.

Two of the suspects, both residents of the capital, are viewed as the main players in the operation. They are both from the chareidi sector. Among those in custody is a leading personality in the Yerushalmi camp, A.T. (name on file), is believed to be the mastermind behind the operation. Police raided his home in the Ramot neighborhood of the capital, he was arrested and taken into custody.

Chareidi media reports state officials affiliated with Degel Hatorah are pleased arrests have finally been made and they hope police take the severity of the actions of those involved seriously and act appropriately.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. R. Shteineman ousted the heads of Degel’s Yeted Neiman a few years ago. They then formed Peles newspaper.

    It is certainly a shame to hear that these people have used blackmail and force to get advertisers.

    But it is in keeping with their desire to see R. Auerbach’s extremist group raise up in the Litvishe world.

  2. old man: The daati and modern o hashkafa of discarding the Torah and replacing it with the latest social values of the non-Jewish world is far worse.

  3. And here we were told that the “Yerushalmi faction” was as clean as the wind driven snow. Intersting.
    They are just part of the low life Sikrikim gangster club which apparently one is not allowed to criticize.

  4. hope they arrest the hole lot of them they are just making trouble in the charedi world they do what they want on rav shmuel orbach’s name

  5. Not getting involved – Who told you? That is the problem with this faction, that they are master con-artists who know who to portray themselves as tzadikim. In Israel most of the frum tziber is opposed to them since they are exposed to their tacticst on a daily basis. In America people fall for all their lies.

  6. There hasn’t even been an indictment much less a conviction. The police arrested some people. And even after a trial in a secular court that rules according to a mishmash of Turkish, British, American laws with a smattering of “home-grown” Israeli law — none of which is according to the Shulchan Aruch, can these people be considered “guilty?” Does getting arrested mean automatic guilt? This is the same thing the secular press does to the shmomrei mitzvos Jews here on a predictably regular basis. Now we are doing it to our own? I sincerely hope all allegations will prove to be false, and I am not an “Eitz” supporter.

  7. #6
    “Not getting involved”???????
    Very irrelevant name for yourself. While We resepect all gedolei yisroel; it is clear that in the last few months every bachur that was arrested from the peleg was mesirah; and that is very chamur…

  8. ToMo:
    Precisely. This represents your torah, your gedolim, your hashkafah, your da’as torah. This is what you stand for, and it is exactly what it appears to be. And all in plain view for all to see. Except you and your ilk don’t see it. I used to cry for you, now I just laugh.

  9. old man: Keep on laughing. The Reform laugh at us and our antiquated ways too, just as hard as you. They tell us they are much greater than us numerically and otherwise. Unfortunately for yourself, the Pew Research census of American Jewry from a year and a half ago indicate Chareidim constitute currently 71% of American Orthodox Jews and 81% of American Orthodox Jews aged 30 and younger. You guys keep up whatever your doing.

    There’s no such movement of Chareidim. The term itself originated in Eretz Yisroel as a way to describe those who followed the Eidah HaChareidis as opposed to the Rabanut. But it has evolved, and has come to mean basically anyone who is not Modern Orthodox/Religious Zionist. But then it is simply the generic, default, traditional manner of being frum. And by using a brand name for the generic you are giving the impression that it is not the generic.

    Chareidim do not follow any specific teachings of any specific Rebbi, nor do they believe in any specific values not already in the Torah. Chasidim follow the specific teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples; Telzers follow the teachings and Minhagim of the Telzer Yeshiva; the Mussar movement was started by Rav Yisroel Salanter – but “Chareidi”? There was no beginning to “Chareidism” except on Har Sinai; no particular person whose teachings they follow except Moshe Rabbeinu, and no particular Minhagim they perform.

    So there really is no such thing as a “Chareidi.” Those who people refer to as “Chareidim” have mostly never referred to themselves as such – in America you can go to Yeshiva from Kindergarten through Kollel and you will most probably never hear “we are Chareidi,” and you may even never hear the term used at all.

    And because words matter – it’s a strange thing but people often tend to form impressions of reality based on words and phrases rather than creating words and phrases that reflect reality – I do not use the term “Chareidi” because by giving generic, default Judaism a label it conceals the fact that this Judaism is in fact the generic and default.

  10. TOMO

    Just to keep all facts accurate, a large majority of AMERICAN Charedim & a majority of Israeli Charedim have no allegiance to the Edah in Meah Shearim.