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!
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • 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.