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Hasidic Rabbi Who Held Naked ‘Purification’ Rite Faces Israel Charges

An Israeli rabbi who fled to the United States amid sexual abuse allegations reportedly will return to Israel.

Army Radio reported Monday that the 70-year-old rabbi, who was not named but was identified as being from a “very well known hasidic movement,” agreed to return to Israel in the coming days and face his accusers. Attorney Jacob Weinroth traveled to the U.S. to persuade the rabbi, according to the station.

Army Radio received several testimonies of abuse by unidentified individuals described as the rabbi’s followers.

The report said the affair exploded after one of the rabbi’s followers said he saw the rabbi naked with a woman during what was supposed to be “a purification session.” Police learned of the affair after other followers threatened the man to keep quiet about what he said he witnessed.

One man told Army Radio that his 15-year-old daughter told him the rabbi grabbed her breasts from behind as he kissed her. The girl’s older sister said the rabbi committed similar acts on her three years earlier, when she was 17.

Hanoch Daum, a journalist and writer, said he filed a criminal complaint against the rabbi based on a third testimony of abuse that he heard from an alleged victim.

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