Antwerp Jewish leader dismisses outcast Friedman’s murder coverup allegations

(JTA) — An Antwerp Jewish leader dismissed allegations by Jewish community outcast Moshe Aryeh Friedman that the community covered up a murder.

Friedman, who is haredi Orthodox, last week wrote to Belgian authorities and told the local media that he had evidence concerning the unsolved 2004 murder of Moshe Yitzchak Naeh. Friedman, a 40-year-old Brooklyn native, accused Jewish community leaders of covering up the murder.

“Friedman’s claims do not merit a reaction,” Rabbi Pinkas Kornfeld, a deputy chairman of the Flemish Forum of Jewish Organizations and secretary general of Antwerp’s Machsike HaDas Orthodox  community, told JTA.

Naeh, a father of four, was shot dead while removing groceries from the trunk of his car. Belgian police said his killing, which has remained an open case, was not a hate crime nor robbery, adding that investigators were focusing on his "private life."

The Belgian news site Het Nieuwsblad.be on March 6 quoted Friedman as saying, “One of the leaders of the community told me himself that that they eliminated Moishe. I will name names when the time is right, but now I am asking for police to reopen the case.”

In December, Friedman — an anti-Zionist who has been ostracized in his community and elsewhere for attending a conference of Holocaust deniers in Iran in 2006, among other actions — secured an injunction forcing a haredi Orthodox school for girls to admit two of his boys. The injunction, which angered many Orthodox residents for interfering with the gender separation customary in that community, has since been lifted and is pending a review by welfare services. 

Friedman told the Belgian media that “Moishe was taken out by a mafia network that belongs to the Jewish community of Antwerp. His killers were dangerous and rich people who launder money from trafficking drugs, blood diamonds and other criminal ventures.”

Naeh, Friedman said, “was involved in the money laundering but knew too much about all kinds of dirty business.” He added, “The Jewish Orthodox mafia has inroads with the authorities and has managed to stall the investigation of Moshe Yitzchak Naeh’s murder.”

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