Prominent Israeli Rabbi Arrested After Two Women Complain of Sexual Assault

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Rabbi Netanel Shriki.
Rabbi Netanel Shriki.Credit: Reuven Kastro / Walla News

A well-known rabbi from southern Israel was arrested Monday on suspicion of sex crimes and obstruction of justice, after two women filed complaints against him. The Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court ordered Rabbi Netanel Shriki's detention extended until Thursday.

Shriki's aide, Ariel Moshe, was also questioned on suspicion of obstructing justice, and his detention was extended until Thursday as well. 

The first woman who complained, Dr. N., went to the rabbi for advice – during which he asked her questions of a sexual nature and touched while taking advantage of her vulnerable situation, reported Channel 12 News. 

“Lift up your blouse, I must see your breasts,” she quoted him as saying. “I was scared. I lifted up my blouse, and then he looked at in such a way, and he said to me: ‘Wow, what nice breasts you have, what a bust you have.’”

The rabbi “put his hand on my stomach, moved it upward, stopped at the lower bust, came closer to me with his face to my neck, breathed heavily, like a dog pants,” she added. “And then he asked me: ‘What does that do for you?’ And then he looked at me and said to me: ‘Ah, but nothing ever happened here, tell your husband and I’ll deny it, he’ll believe me.’”

The second woman who complained against the rabbi said that when she consulted with him, he told her: “So open your blouse. Do you have a bra with straps?” She told him yes, and then he told her: “I want you to lift your bra above your breasts.” She then asked him: “Is it necessary?” and he answered: “If you want me to tell you what the [medical] finding you have on your chest is, then it’s necessary.”

The woman said after that, the rabbi touched her: “I lifted up my undershirt and he looked and smiled at me with a sort of devious smile, put his hand on the lower part of my stomach, and told me: ‘Great, now I’ve calmed down.” 

Police said they suspect more women were abused by Shriki and said investigators were working to contact them.

Attroney Zion Amir, who represents Shriki, criticized the women for "going to the media" with their accusations, but stopped short of making any direct reference to their accounts.

The women's lawyer, Susie Ozsinay-Aranya, said they were "fully cooperating with investigators, in order to bring the truth to light."

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