Deputy Education Minister Asks to Act as Guarantor for Rapist’s Furlough

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush of United Torah Judaism at the Knesset, Jerusalem, December 2020.
Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush of United Torah Judaism at the Knesset, Jerusalem, December 2020.Credit: Adina Valman / Knesset Spokesperson's Office
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush volunteered to stand as a guarantor for a furlough requested by a man who is serving a prison term for raping his then-wife.

The prisoner, who was not named, was sentenced to seven years in prison for multiple counts of rape and other violent offenses against his wife.

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The court refused his request for a furlough, citing the conclusions of the Israel Prison Service’s Committee for Domestic Violence Offenders and Their Families according to which the prisoner has a high degree of dangerousness resulting from “violent, impulsive and sadistic personality characteristics.”

The prisoner, who is 50 years old and lived in Jerusalem, was sentenced in 2016. He recently requested a furlough from prison in order to attend his son’s bar mitzvah. In his application to the Lod District Court, he wrote that two guarantors would promise to sign him out of the prison and to remain with him throughout his furlough and to return him to the facility at the appointed time. The second guarantor, in addition to Porush, is the municipal rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek, Yitzchak Dovid Grossman. In the furlough application, the inmate’s lawyer wrote that “both guarantors are very respected in the community.”

Among other offenses, the inmate was charged with threatening and beating his then-wife, raping her on a daily basis and forcing her to have sex with another man. After his conviction in a plea bargain, he was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay 250,000 shekels ($77,600) in compensation.

“The dangerousness assessment came up because his dangerousness toward female partners and women with whom he has a sexual relationship has remained high,” wrote Tsion Abunie, a prosecutor with the Central District. “In light of the claim, repeated in the application, that the petitioner’s ex-wife is not expected to participate in their son’s bar mitzvah, this is the place to ask whether the violent and controlling [behavior] patterns of the petitioner are behind her decision not to take part in such an important ritual in the life of a young teenager.”

The inmate’s lawyer, Relly Avisar-Rave, told the court Thursday that the fact that Porush, a member of the United Torah Judaism party, who attended the session himself, would be with her client throughout his furlough guaranteed his return to prison.

Judge Hagai Tarsi refused the request, ruling that there was no cause for interfering in the Israel Prison Service’s decision.

Porush declined to comment. In a written response, his office wrote that the petitioner has served five and a half years of his seven-year sentence. “The deputy minister received a letter that touched his heart from the son of the accused [sic], who is celebrating his bar mitzvah Sunday, requesting that his father participate in the joyous occasion. The deliberations in the court did not revolve around the accused [sic] father, the court discussed whether the bar mitzvah boy would be given the privilege of having his father take part in his joyous occasion.”

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