Legislation in Israel needed to supervise sex offenders after aliyah

Opening session on the 16th Knesset (Photo courtesy: The Knesset)

A loophole in Israeli law enables registered pedophiles convicted in other countries to immigrate to Israel and live free from the continued supervision they would normally be subject to in their state of origin.

The 1950 Law of Return, which provides for Jews in the Diaspora to immigrate to Israel, does not provide for supervision to be transferred to Israel once the person receives Israeli citizenship.

Under a 1954 amendment to the Law of Return, a “person with a criminal past, likely to endanger public welfare,” may be denied the right to immigrate. However, Prison Services spokesman Assaf Librati told the Times of Israel last month that only an Israeli court can order the continued supervision of an immigrant sex offender  – and they are not likely to do so when the crimes were committed abroad.

While offenders convicted in Israel are supervised by the Prison Services after their release, and applicants for employment with children may be asked to provide proof of a clean record, this record will only pertain to offenses committed here.

It is therefore possible that a sex offender who is registered only in the US, for instance, will appear to have a clean record for the purpose of working in an Israeli school.

This has caused child protection groups in other countries to take it upon themselves to inform parents when a registered sex offender moves to a certain neighborhood in Israel.

So, for instance, the Jewish Community Watch (JCW) organization, sent out a text message saying: “A warning to the citizens of Israel. JCW has received credible information that [redacted] has plans to return to Israel in early November, with intentions of moving to the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem. The authorities in Israel have been notified, as well as local community leaders.”

Also, as a result of this problem, the founder of the Center for Jewish Life, Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, is being sued by convicted pedophile Yona Weinberg.

Horowitz is accused of slander in a twitter message he sent out warning that Weinberg was moving in. According to the Times of Israel, Weinberg claims that, while his conviction is a matter of public record, Horowitz lied in saying that he was also running from a federal investigation.

The Times of Israel reports that Weinberg, who was a licensed social worker in New York, is registered in New York as a level three offender. This category is for those at high risk of re-offending, who are considered a threat to the public.

Weinberg was cleared for immigration despite the Law of Return barring convicted criminals who pose a threat to the public.

Not only must this loophole concerning transferred supervision for sex offenders be addressed, but also the criteria under which applicants for immigration are accepted.

For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor secret that shall not be known and come into open view. – Luke 8:17