Chareidi Apprehended Smuggling Drugs Into Israel Gets Away With Community Service


Two and a half years since being caught trying to smuggle a commercial quantity of drugs into Israel, Aharon, a 27-year-old from Bnei Brak, was sentenced to community service. The prosecution was calling for a 15-month sentence. The court however was quite impressed with his unusually serious rehabilitation process, which saved him from prison.

A total of three chareidim were apprehended in this case, and the court’s unusual leniency applies to one of the defendants only. The residents of Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Betar Illit were apprehended on 21 Sivan 5776. The defendant carrying the drugs was the 27-year-old from Bnei Brak, BeChadrei Chareidim reports. With a very minimal number of family members present, he was married while in jail and has since become a father. He was released from jail with restrictions, as is the case with the other defendants.

The indictment reads that 28-year-old Jerusalem resident Yisrael Meir and another man imported drugs to Israel. Aharon, 27, from Bnei Brak, flew several times to the Ukraine as a courier for Meir. He would bring back suitcases on his return flights. In the middle of 2016, Meir offered Aharon a flight to Berlin, to bring another suitcase, paying him for his services.

Aharon flew to Berlin with a ticket he received from Yisrael Meir, in addition to NIS 2,000 payment for expenses. The suitcase he carried was empty. In Berlin, he met with someone in a hotel and he received 13,189 ecstasy pills and a substantial amount of MDMA (ecstasy). Yisrael Meir updated Aharon of a change in the plan, sending him a ticket from Germany to Israel via Istanbul, and when he landed in Ben-Gurion Airport, he was arrested.

Aharon’s lawyer, attorney Shalom Ben Shabbat, managed to raise questions about Aharon’s awareness of the contents of the suitcase, which ultimately led the prosecution asking that he be sentenced to only 15 months in prison.

In a hearing about six weeks ago in a Lod court, his mother spoke on his behalf as did Menachem Carmel, who heads the Bar-Kol supermarket chain, where he worked. Carmel’s testimony on Aharon’s behalf was key towards his release. He detailed for the court how he witnesses the transition and how Aharon is committed to rehabilitating himself.

BeChadrei Chareidim reports Aharon was imprisoned for three months, during which time he was married and has since become the father of two girls. His release was followed by house arrest with restrictions and he worked as a refrigeration technician, supporting his family, pointing to his successful rehabilitation process.

In a plea bargain arrangement, prosecuting attorney Gal Rosensweig asked for 15 months imprisonment, explaining the need to send a message of deterrence to others. Defense attorney Bar-Shalom however persuaded the court of Aharon’s rehabilitation.

On Sunday, Justice Michal Barak-Cohen explained the punishment ranges from 24-42 months, but in Aharon’s case, sees fitting to veer from the minimum sentence as the court takes the rehabilitation process into consideration, calling Aharon change “an authentic change”, and how the defendant is now in his new life. He was fined NIS 12,000, which he will pay in 12 monthly installments, and sentenced to six months of community service in Tel Hashomer Hospital and a one-year probation, during which if apprehended for the same crime, he will automatically find himself in prison.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. CA, and what about the
    DL rampaging this past week, blocking traffic, etc. One of the arrested youth had a video showing (some of) them burning an Israeli flag. Although none of this is reported cv”s on YWN (probably because it’s not news for the yeshiva world) — it’s been reported everywhere else. Remember what they say about people who live in glass houses….