Popular Haredi News Site Suspected of Extortion
“This is going to be one of the biggest extortion scandals in the history of Israel,” a senior ultra-Orthodox figure told Haaretz Sunday, following the arrest of four directors of the popular Haredi website Behadrey Haredim.
Police placed a gag order forbidding publication of any details of the affair, but revealed that more arrests are expected.
The four senior directors of the website were arrested Sunday morning at their homes and the website’s offices in Tel Aviv, and taken for questioning in Jerusalem.
Some of the website’s employees told Haaretz they were completely taken by surprise by the arrests, but rumors circulating in Haredi circles for the past year describe a system of extortion by the website’s directors against dozens of Haredi figures, some of whom are very well known. According to the rumors, the directors would approach well-known figures and demand a sum – anywhere from several thousand dollars to NIS 100,000 ($26,000) — in return for withholding publication of potentially damaging information. On Sunday, the police interviewed dozens of people who revealed various details about the website in past few year