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Two Trials on Abduction of Boy by Orthodox Jews Start in Israel

June 7, 1962
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Two trials began here today in the 1959 abduction of Yosselle Shumacher, the 10-year-old boy who was taken from his parents by Orthodox Jews who feared the boy would not receive a sufficiently Orthodox education.

A three-judge district court headed by President Binyamin Halevi began a hearing of charges against Rabbi Binyamin Mendelsohn and three other members of the Poale Agudat Israel collective village, Kommemiut, where police believed the boy had been kept for a time. The rabbi pleaded not guilty to two charges of hiding a youth named Yisroel Vinnik in a case growing out of the abduction of Yosselle. The three other defendants pleaded not guilty to five charges of complicity in Yosselle’s abduction.

(In Washington, a delegation of American Agudat Israel leaders called on Israel Ambassador Avraham Harman today to protest the arraignment and trial of Rabbi Mendelsohn. The Ambassador reportedly told the delegation he would convey their views to the Israel Government in Jerusalem.)

Shmuel Tamir, attorney for the Kommemiut defendants, raised a series of technical objections, including a demand for separate trials since the charges against the four men involved different incidents.

At the same time, another court, with Judge Yitzhak Golan presiding, heard charges against a couple named Kutt from the same collective village. They were accused of complicity in Yosselle’s abduction and hiding. Ada Shumacher, mother of the long-missing boy, began testimony asserting that the Kutts were implicated.

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