Orthodox Jew Sent to Jail in Israel for Hiding Child from Parents

A grandfather who has already spent a year in Jail for refusing to return his grandchild to its parents was sent back to prison today by the Israel Supreme Court on an order that he remain there until he does return the child.

Nachman Shtarkes hid nine-year-old Yossele Schumacher more than a year ago with the help of Orthodox friends who were convinced that the parents would not give the child a sufficiently Orthodox education. Arrested then, the grandfather refused to return Yossele to his parents, claiming they intended to emigrate to Russia. The parents denied this and proved to the satisfaction of authorities that they had no such intention.

The parents then appealed to the courts. Police were instructed to find the child but failed, pleading that the child was being moved from house to house in an ultra-Orthodox section of Jerusalem so effectively that they could find no trace in their searches.

The grandfather was then jailed and was released three months ago on his promise that he would do his utmost to find the boy. Brought back before the court, he appealed for a cancelation of the imprisonment order, claiming he had no idea where the child might be after he was “kidnaped” by two unknown Yeshiva students.

The mother of the child, who is Shtarkes’ daughter, produced evidence that her father did know where the child was and the court thereupon ordered Shtarkes’ reim-prisonment. In ordering the grandfather’s return to jail, the court described the kidnaping story as a “fantasy” and said it was evident that he had made no effort to find the child.

The court also denounced “persons lending a hand to the despicable act of concealing a child from its parents, an act which, from the moral and legal view, is comparable to the abominable crime of kidnaping a minor from its natural guardians.”

NEXT STORY