Menu JTA Search

Orthodox Israeli Arrested in London; Charged with Kidnaping Boy

London police announced today the arrest on an Israeli extradition warrant of Shalom Starkes, 22, uncle of a nine-year-old Israeli boy who has been kept in hiding for more than a year. The uncle, a religious school teacher here, was sought on charges that he kidnaped the boy, Yossele Schumacher.

Police opposed bail for the teacher, declaring that “we have good information that the child is in this country and we are making inquiries to locate him.” His counsel, Esther Iwi, said at the extradition today that the arrest was the out growth of a political issue created by the recent national election in Israel and declared that “I have no doubt there is a complete answer to the charge.”

The boy’s elderly grandfather, Nachman Starkes, is back in jail in Ramleh, Israel, to which he was returned after a three-month conditional pardon during which he was unable to produce the child. He had previously spent almost a year in jail while the Israeli police searched an ultra-Orthodox section of Jerusalem on a search petition granted by an Israeli court to the child’s parents. The grandfather, apparently with the aid of members of an Agudas Israel settlement, spirited the child away from the parents out of fear that the child would not receive a sufficiently Orthodox education.

At the request of Israeli authorities, Scotland Yard had kept Shalom Starkes under surveillance for more than a month, on suspicion he had brought the child from Israel to England, until his arrest today.

NEXT STORY