Breaking News: Yoel Zev Found Innocent in Japan


matzav_network12:47 EST, 1:47 Japan time, 7:47 IDT: First report:

It is with shevach vehodaah to the Ribono Shel Olam that we report that the final verdict of Yoel Goldstein, Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava, was rendered just moments ago at the Chiba District Court in Japan and he has been found innocent.

Tireless askanim, led by Reb Aron Nezri and Reb Meilich Bindiger, have worked behind the scenes to ensure that all was done on behalf of Yoel Zev’s defense.

The closing arguments and the final hearing for Yoel Zev took place back in May at the Chiba District Court in Japan. At the time, the presiding judge announced that the court rejected the evidence by a graphologist that showed the the evidence presented by Ms. Reiko Suzuki – who had administered the polygraph tests to the three boys – had been forged. On the judge’s bench at the time in the courtroom were a new minor judge and a new prosecutor. The new minor judge, who had never worked as a justice before and is very young, replaced the last minor judge of the three previous judges, led by presiding judge Hiroshi Furuta, a hardliner who never acquitted anyone before.

Yoel Zev had been facing a serious sentence if the court had ruled otherwise. The prosecutor had said that because Yoel was older in age and not a minor when he entered Japan, he deserved a longer punishment and a heavier fine – a 15-year prison sentence and a 5 million yen fine ($62,000).

When the judge set the verdict day for August 29 – over three months after the final hearing – he actually apologized to Yoel Zev for having to keep him in detention for a longer period of time. Boruch Hashem, however, Yoel was found innocent a short while ago, and work is now underway to obtain a visa for him.

Yoel’s trial began back in June 2010.

As has been reported extensively here on, which has led the news coverage of this saga, the smuggling story began on April 3, 2008, when the three bochurim from Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak – two under age 20 and one under age 18 at the time – were asked to transport some antiques from Holland to Japan. The ‘friend’ who asked them for the favor assured them that everything was legal. Once in Amsterdam, they were given the “antiques” – concealed inside false-bottomed suitcases. Told that this was a precaution against theft, they once again suspected nothing, and flew on to Tokyo. In Japan, the false bottoms were quickly detected and broken into by customs officials – who found not antiques, but $3.6 million worth of Ecstasy pills. spoke with an American askan who has led the campaign to raise funds for this pidyon shvuyim effort, and he asked to relay to our readers to please continue to daven and learn as a zechus for Yoel Zev, since the Japanese prosecutors could very well attempt to appeal the not-guilty verdict at the Japanese high court. The prosecutors have two weeks to submit an appeal.

The askanim, led by Rabbis Nezri and Bindiger, are working to procure a temporary visa for Yoel Zev, which will permit him to exit Japan as soon as possible and return to his family in Eretz Yisroel. In the interim, he will be transferred to an immigration center as the details of his immigration and visa status is ironed out.

Continue to daven for for Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava, as well as for Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel, who is still in jail after the May 16 ruling of the Tokyo High Court denying his appeal and upholding the guilty verdict handed down by the Chiba District Court. There is a prisoner transfer agreement in place between Japan and Israel, and thus, according to Japanese law, a prisoner legally need not be held even one day in Japan, but can be transferred to his own country. The reality, however, is far different. Transfers usually take a long time, as was the case with Yossi, the youngest of the three boys who were arrested at Narita International Airport over three years ago. will continue to provide updates as they become available.

{Shmiel Gellman exclusively for Newscenter}


  1. Rabbi Bindiger and Rabbi nezri are amazing people! Credit to them for giving up their lives for these boys. They are angels.

  2. Baruch Hashem he is going home! But why is it that this one was found innocent and let out right away and the other two still have/had red tape to get around?? Because of the change in the judge?

  3. The unbelievable Chesed that these 2 Rabbi’s have done to help this boy, has no doubt caused a tremendous Nachas Ruach before the Borie Olam! May it serve as a Shemirah for gancz Kllal Yiroel! Don’t forget there is still one more boy who needs Rachamie Shomayim.

  4. Everyone, please read! This bochur still needs rachmay shomayim, because the prosecutor has two weeks to file an appeal.So we have to keep davening that there should cholila be no appeal.

  5. B’H. May he be able to return home to Eretz Yisrael as soon as possible. In Japan, an appeal might be made, chas v’sholom. They have a 14-day period where one can be made; but, hopefully, this will not happen, and Yoel Zev will be home for the New Year, Rosh Hashanah, in E.Y. with his family. Amen

  6. Baruch Hashem! May he be back with his family and community as soon as possible, along with Yaakov Yosef, Sholom Mordechai and Gilad!

  7. #27 Our tefillos should now be directed to hashem for Yonoson Ben Malka.

    This is outstanding news of the day and there have been so many involved with this case that deserve a mega hakaras hatov. Please bochurim return to Bnei Brak and start visiting and speaking at yeshivos in the area WARNING them of the dangers of traveling with unknown merchandise.

  8. to #27

    With all due respect, not only is there no comparison between the cases in question, it is a gross misrepresentation to lump them together.

    Yaakov Yosef is an innocent young man who was duped into committing a crime.

    Sholom Modrechai is the victim of an unprecedented prosecution and an illegal collaboration between prosecutors and judges.

    Gilad was kidnapped and remains a hostage.

    Pollard committed a crime. He knew he was committing a crime. In addition to passing along information to Israeli agents for money, he passed on information to at least three other countries (that we know of) as well as providing his wife top secret documents on China for the purpose of advancing her career. He agreed to a plea bargain, the terms of which he repeatedly violated and was finally sentenced in 1987. Though eligible to apply for parole since 1995, he has never done so.

  9. RE: TorasMosheEmess

    Before anything, we must give praise to the Ribbono Shel Olam for the new verdict of the Japanese court, which will hopefully put and end to over three years of untold suffering to the unfortunate victim. In addition we must continue to daven that the new verdict will remain in place, and that he will be enabled to return home as soon as possible. It is only chasdei Shamayim that could enable this; as “The hearts of kings and officials are in the hand of H-shem”, and it is all from Above the the hardliner judge was recently replaced. Let the skeptics try to deny this; but I am highly convinced the the recent tsunami in that country was a Heavenly message of displeasure towards the country’s original court procedures regarding these bochurim.

    Now regarding what you said about Jonothan J. Pollard – aside from being a case of “loaig larash” towards a man who has suffered repeated betrayel from virtually all angles of both American and Israeli politics; and DID NOT – I repeat DID NOT violate his plea bargain agreement, as his enemies claimed at the time that his arbitrary prosecution began, – it also show gross niavete on your part towards the actual terms of the sentence he recieved, and the background conditions that caused such outrageous distortion.

    Today, it is well known that the paranoia which caused the administration of then to push for a life sentence was the tremendous fear that Pollard would concievably leak out information about the then unknown “Iranian affair”, thus Caspar Weinberger had gone well overboard doing all in his power to “shut the man up” and put him behind bars. (In fact, after Weinberger was subsequently granted clemency for these charges by George Bush Sr. – he had afterwards admitted that the Pollard case was in itself “irrevelant” and “blown out of proportion”.)

    … Even now, I see I have barely begun to scratch the surface regarding the arbitrarity of the Pollard case, and there is simply no end to this, – maybe just go to his website ( is it?) and examine the basic facts for yourself.

    P.S. Let it be known that Jonothan REFUSED to accept money for his involvement in the case until the Israeli intelligence explained to him that for certain beaurocratic reasons they were obligated to give him monetary recompense in exchange for his involvement.

  10. Now we need to all say Tehilim for Yaakov Yosef, Jonathan Pollard, Gilad Shalit and Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, and all other brother captives. May they all be freed and home for Rosh Hashanah (we need many nissim). Hopefully, Yoel Zev will be home for Yom Tov!

  11. Boruch Hashem.
    This should serve as the last warning for anyone who “innocently” takes a package from someone else on an airplane. After this incident, naivety will not be a defense.

    Bottom line: There are sharks out there, in the guise of frum Yidden, who will use innocent people as mules for their personal gain, and they don’t care if you get 15 years in a Japanese prison. Take no packages!

  12. does anyone know what happened to the yid that was arrested in Spain, under similar circumstances . eliyahu rachamim ben rachel?

  13. #30, Torah Moshe: “Every” Jew is holy and the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim is one of the greatest and most important. Everyone is now thrilled that, B’H, Yoel Zev was found innocent and will, hopefully, be back home in EY for YomTov, and now, we must pray for Yaakov Yosef to join him soon in E.Y., but that does not detract from the importance of all other Jewish captives and especially someone like Jonathan Ben Malka, who has been imprisoned in jail for 26 years already for a crime, where others who have done much worse and spied for enemy countries, have served no more than a couple of years. As a frume yid, where is your rachmanus for a fellow yid? It’s chodesh Elul, we can all do teshuva! Also, your ‘facts’ in the case are lopsided and distorted.

  14. To #30:

    BTW, Pollard accepted a plea bargain for a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. When he pleaded guilty in court ACCORDING TO THE AGREEMENT, the turned around and gave him life in prison without parole for a crime that those who spied for ENEMIES were set free for or given incredibly short sentences.

    How dare you! Before you go spouting off, maybe you should do some homework!