A case has been filed against a Jerusalem rabbi for rape, sodomy and indecent assault of seven women after allegedly assuring them he was cleansing them of past sins.
Rabbi Moshe Yazdi, 59, was arrest on 27 April and has also been charged for defrauding his victims of their money.
Yazdi told the victims they needed to be absolutely obedient to his orders. He has allegedly worked as a rabbi in Jerusalem’s Amudei Hashalom community since the 1990s.
He claimed to be one of 36 righteous people who, according to some Jewish traditions, ensure the continued existence of the world, the indictment reportedly said.
He also allegedly convinced his victims that their past sins had left “sparks of impurity” inside them. He claimed these “sparks” could only be removed through sex acts with him, prosecutors detailed in the indictment.
Yazdi also reportedly directed the women to transfer money to a number of different bank accounts in order to evade tax.
The charges against him range from alleged crimes committed over a decade ago and one as recent as a year and a half ago.
A rabbinic court has banned Yazdi from teaching, meeting with, or advising women following complaints, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
Ten women have filed complaints against Yazdi, according to the paper, with some of the alleged crimes being committed on brides on their wedding day.
At a court hearing in May, a police officer said that the evidence revealed “a man who controlled his victims highhandedly and with an iron fist, separating them from their families and even demanding that they separate from their spouses.”
The officer said that Yazdi has provided justifications for the alleged sex acts, saying that they “were meant to save Jewish lives and even prevent terror attacks”.
“It’s impossible to call his actions and character anything but pure evil,” he said.
Yazdi’s attorney, David Halevi, said that the police were “demonising” his client. (Source: Independent UK)