Ostreicher: Bolivian Jewish Community ‘Disappointing’

By JTA

Published December 25, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

New York businessman Jacob Ostreicher said in an interview with Bolivian media that the reaction to his jailing by the country’s Jewish community was “quite disappointing.”

Ostreicher, who had been jailed in Bolivia without charges for 18 months, said he believes that the Jewish community is afraid of the government.

“To be honest with you, the Jewish community in Bolivia was quite disappointing,” Ostreicher told EJU-Monitoring News in Bolivia. “When I got entangled in this issue I approached them, they promised everything to my wife but they didn’t do much. Now I understand why, they were afraid of the government. Currently, I understand a little more about the system, I know that they were afraid, and rightfully so. But the Jewish community in the world stepped up to support me.”

Earlier this month, Ostreicher was released from jail to house arrest and was ordered to post bail of more than $14,000.

He said that there “is not enough time to describe the (poor) condition of the prison.”

Ostreicher, a haredi Orthodox father of five and grandfather of 11 from Brooklyn, was arrested in June 2011 by Bolivian police after it was alleged that he did business with “people wanted in their countries because of links with drug trafficking and money laundering.” He still has not been charged.

Ostreicher belonged to a group of investors who sunk $25 million into growing rice in eastern Bolivia. He has said that his arrest stems from a conspiracy by Bolivian officials to rob him and his businesses.

Last month, authorities arrested seven people, including top government officials, for attempted extortion of Ostreicher.

Ostreicher told EJU that he hopes his high-profile imprisonment will have an impact.

“I hope that the fact that I am American, won’t make it stop as soon as I go back to my country, I hope it won’t be like nothing has happened. All my suffering would not have been in vain if I could make a difference in the future of this country, to help hundreds, maybe thousands of people, making a change for future generations. If that’s the case my suffering will have been a small payment and will have been worthwhile. I hope this is not just about me, but about the whole justice system in Bolivia.”

Ostreicher credited American actor Sean Penn, who took on his case with the Bolivian government, with effecting his release. He said that people continue to call him and congratulate him for being released from prison but pointed out that “I am still not a free man.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.