The court decided Monday afternoon to extend the remand of the leader of a cult in which dozens of women and children were held against their will in Jerusalem. The remand was extended for one week.
Ten people were arrested in a raid on the cult's compound Monday morning, including a 60-year-old man who ran the school located on the premises, along with nine female suspects.
Authorities suspect the school, which operated as a separate and tightly knit-community, was in practice a cult which used coercion and abuse to force dozens of women and children to remain there against their will.
The case began with reports reached by the Jerusalem District's Fraud and Economic Crime Unit of abuses committed at the compound.
Over the past two months, police investigators have gathered evidence against the central suspect, the leader of the community. The prosecutor's civilian investigation has also progressed. Roughly 50 women and a number of children were held at the compound in crowded and poorly maintained facilities.
The investigation found that the main suspect used force and various punishments to coerce members to remain a part of the community, compelling them to work while pocketing the money they earned.
Former MK Dr Aliza Lavi, who has been pushing for an investigation of the school for years, welcomed the arrest of the head of the cult.
"As early as 2015, I was alerted by testimonials from parents who came to me. And following my request, a surprise review was carried out at the Midrasha, where serious findings were discovered and a warrant was placed on the scene and detention headed. Unfortunately, he was released shortly afterwards and continued his acts," Lavi noted.
"I hope this time the investigation will be complete and the place will be closed immediately. I urge the Ministry of Social Affairs and the authorities to help them, and to help those who have sufferedbut showed courage and exposed the atrocities that have occurred, and to support the women who have lived there, and to help them return to their families lead a healthy life," she added.
According to her, "There is no anti-cult law in Israel, and the measures to eradicate this phenomenon are few. I call on the Minister of Justice to take all measures available to eradicate the phenomenon."