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Three Orthodox Jews Arrested in Israel; Linked to ‘kidnaping Affair’

Police announced today the arrest of; three members of an Orthodox settlement on suspicion they hid Yossele Schumacher, a boy kidnapped by his Orthodox grandfather a year ago and still not restored to his parents

The arrests were announced amid reports that Sholom Starkes, an uncle, took the nine-year-old boy to England after testifying under oath in Israel that he had no knowledge of the boy’s whereabouts.

Grandfather Nachman Starkes, who spent a year in jail for refusing to return the boy to his parents, and who is scheduled to go back to prison Tuesday after failing to produce the child during a conditional suspension of his sentence, has appealed repeatedly to Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim, proposing a Din Torah (Religious Tribunal) ruling on the future of the child. The grandfather spirited the child away out of fear he would not receive a sufficiently Orthodox upbringing from his parents.

Police learned that Yossele’s uncle hid him in the Agudat Israel-affiliated Komemiut settlement in the northern Negev and investigated. The arrest of the three members followed. Israel police said they would ask a court declaration that the uncle lied under oath so; they can issue a warrant for his arrest and formally initiate proceedings for the uncle’s extradition from London where he is teaching in a Lubavitcher Yeshiva.

The attorney of the parents said that two members of the Starkes’ family in England notified him that they were coming to Israel to provide information to police on the kidnapping. He said the relatives had called the uncle before British Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie but the uncle refused to tell the Chief Rabbi of the child’s whereabouts on grounds he would never testify against his own father.

The parents’ attorney also said that while he had no objection to the parents appearing before a rabbinical tribunal, he wanted advance assurance that the grandfather would be requited to give under religious oath, every detail of the kidnaping and secreting of the child. He also demanded the police ask the Speaker of the Parliament, Kaddish Luz, to order Rabbi Shlomo Lorinz, an Agudat Israel deputy, to appear before police and disclose any information he had on the case.

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