Po­lice raid Is­raeli cult for treat­ing vic­tims like slaves

The Punch - - WORLD NEWS -

SOME vic­tims say they were made to put their hands into fires so they could find out what “hell feels like” while at the cen­tre.

Sky News said a cult-like group in an ul­tra-or­tho­dox area of Jerusalem has been raided, with po­lice say­ing dozens of women and chil­dren were be­ing held and abused in “slav­ery” con­di­tions.

Is­raeli po­lice, tipped off by women who had man­aged to es­cape the group, raided the lo­ca­tion with the help of the coun­try’s very own spe­cial­ist group - the Is­raeli Cen­tre for Vic­tims of Cults.

A 60-year-old man was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of be­ing the group’s leader, and for al­legedly “com­mit­ting se­vere of­fences” against those un­der his in­flu­ence.

The man and eight sus­pected fe­male ac­com­plices have been ac­cused of iso­lat­ing around 50 women at the venue, along­side chil­dren be­tween the ages of one and five, and block­ing them from con­tact­ing the out­side world.

Po­lice said women at­tended the lo­ca­tion, said to be in the Bukha­ran neigh­bour­hood of Jerusalem, un­der the guise of a women’s sem­i­nar, and that the op­er­a­tion could have been go­ing on for a num­ber of years.

The lead sus­pect, who has not been named, is also ac­cused of steal­ing money, by tak­ing a cut of the women’s wages, and pun­ish­ing those at the venue.

It is thought that vic­tims were sex­u­ally abused, and some say they were told to put their hands in to fires, to see what “hell feels like”, ac­cord­ing to Is­raeli me­dia.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Isaac Si­mon said that the al­leged vic­tims of the group were kept in “very cramped con­di­tions and dif­fi­cult sanitary con­di­tions,” dur­ing their time there.

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