Standover tactics used by Melbourne's tight-knit Jewish community - royal commission
3 February 2015
MEMBERS of Melbourne's Jewish community routinely used “standover tactics” to bully people who spoke out against child sexual abuse, the royal commission has heard.
Senior Rabbis also threatened “hellfire and damnation” for anyone who engaged in ‘mesirah’, the act of informing on a Jewish person to non Jewish authorities.
Zephania Waks, whose son Manny was abused by several Jewish leaders at Yeshiva College, said Rabbis openly told community members they were not to cooperate with police.
Mr Waks said after his son went public with his story of abuse their family was ostracised from the tight-knit community.
“That sealed our fate. It felt like we were suddenly reduced to nothing and had lost all our friends,” he said.
“At the very least, the breach of mesirah almost certainly always leads to shunning and intimidation within the Jewish community.”
Mr Waks said he complained to authorities in 1993 about abuse against his son, but nothing was done.
The commission has been told that 15 of 25 alleged or convicted paedophile in Australia's Jewish community came from Melbourne's Yeshiva centre.
One of the perpetrators, David Kramer, was hurriedly rushed to Israel after a string of complaints about him were made.
But authorities allowed him to continue associating with children claiming he could be “cured”.
Kramer admitted that he had touched the boys but said they had initiated the touching and that no harm was done.
He was convinced the boys had “desired” the abuse, the commission heard.
The wife of another victim and whistleblower, who can't be named, said her family and children had been relentlessly bullied.
“The community's response to their awakening to the child sexual abuse riddling the community is to turn on the victim and make them the subject of suspicion," she said.
"The community is coming apart at the seams.
"The Jewish community deals better when there is someone to blame for the confusion we are facing as a community."
The hearing continues.
Originally published at Herald Sun.