Batel Peretz Still Awaits Chance To Be Freed From Prison

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Batel Peretz was a nice, frum girl living in Eretz Yisrael. Her parents gave her a good life and she had a very trusting nature. Unfortunately being a sheltered girl with good middos made her ripe to be taken advantage of by an unscrupulous individual.

A member of the community came to her and her friends, offering them a free vacation in Bulgaria with spending money in exchange for bringing his suitcase with items perfectly legal in Israel. As a frum Israeli girl, she had never read Jerusalem Post, CNN, or other news sites which publish stories of the risks involved in transporting luggages across borders. When they landed, she was shocked to be arrested. Since the police didn’t speak Hebrew to explain what was happening, the girls were wondering why strange men in uniforms were “kidnapping” them. It didn’t cross their minds that they were under arrest, because they were unaware they had broken a law. 

It turns out that these legal substances in Israel are illegal in Bulgaria. The prosecutors are looking for a conviction with 15 years in prison. While jail is never a nice place to be, many of the human rights expected in the Israeli and US system are absent here. Without speaking the local language, asking for simple requests, such as a glass of water or to be brought to the nurse because her stomach hurts, is complicated. Her deteriorating health is causing her parents much worry that she won’t make it out alive. Unfortunately, health is the least of her immediate concerns because she is being housed with bored, hardened criminals, including murderers, many of whom hate Jews and would be happy to physically torment her to pass the time.

For Batel to survive and walk free, her parents Shimon and Inbal have hired top lawyers, translators, interpreters and they are renting an apartment in Bulgaria. Because the girls aren’t provided with Kosher food, Inbal cooks them food and Shimon brings it to them each day. Unfortunately all of this costs a lot of money which the Peretz family does’’t have. Unfortunately without these services, their daughter will likely perish.

This has affected the whole family. Her brother, with no history of mental illness, hasn’t been able to bear the pressure and is now institualized in a mental hospital. Her four other siblings are in Israel living with various relatives. They miss their parents in Bulgaria dearly.

There is a new cause for hope. The girls are being offered a plea bargain which would see them go free in exchange for expensive “fines” to be “collected” by officials. In this part of the world where prison staff, prosecutors, and judicial officials earn next to nothing, it is common for them to look for ways to “supplement” their income. Unfortunately without financial assistance, the desperate parents won’t be able to buy their daughter’s freedom.

The Gemara calls the Mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim a “Mitzvah Rabbah”. The Rambam poskens that if a person gives to tzedakah, they should donate to prisoners BEFORE the poor. He also writes that one who doesn’t help at the level they are capable of, is looked at as a murder and trangresses several Mitzvahs min HaTorah. Halacha says this mitzvah is so important that to raise funds for a captive, we can even sell our precious shuls. Rav Moshe Feinstein, ztzl, poskens even if a Jewish prisoner is in a jail, in a civilized country where their human rights are respected and they are given kosher food, the mitzvah to redeem them still applies; even if they are guilty of the crime. How much more so for a Batel and her friends who didn’t intend to do bad and are in a prison with potentially fatal results. On the flip side, one who takes part in this Mitzvah Rabbah will receive imaginable reward for their efforts.

To learn more about freeing Batel, click here.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. AN EXTREMELY TERRIBLE SITUATION!! HASHEM YERACHM!!

    So the name for Tefila is “Batel bas Inbal”? Does she or her mother have any middle names?

  2. The “member of her community” should raise this money. He/she knew the substance (can guess what the substance is) was illegal in Bulgaria. After commiting such a deliberate evil act, how does one remain a member of the community? If the responsible parties are known, the consequences for doing so should be harsh enough to at least limit this practice. We’re talking about “frum” individuals, who go to shul, send their kids to school, have jobs.

    There are plenty of Chareidi newspapers and magazines that have reported stories like these, not just CNN. There must be an unprecedented unified movement to publicize this among all communities that under any circumstances one should not take a “suitcase” in return for a free trip.

    Every time this happens it provides increased motivation for countries such as Bulgaria to use this “fund raising” effort again and again.

    May Hashem have rachmanus on achosainu hanesunos bitzarah. May others like them hear, and hear well, what misfortune one can bring upon himself/herself, so that an and can finally come to this cruel hostage taking.

    • EXCELLENT OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS!!

      Yes, of course, the wicked “member of the community” who put the girls into this calamity must be forced to pay for ALL of the costs of taking care of them and getting them out.

    • A few years ago, there was a well publicized similar type of case with three Bachurim in the Satmer community in Eretz Yisroel.

      PART 1.) Before Pesach, one of their community members came to them, offering them a little “job.” He would pay each of them $1,000 if they would take three suitcases of his artwork to Japan for his art pieces to be displayed at a special Art Show there.

      Of course, we know that it was not any kind of “art” pieces that this wicked louse was transporting; it was Crystal Meth!! Tragically though, the Bachurim had no way of knowing this.

      Anyway, they were instructed to first fly to Amsterdam, where they would meet an associate of the community member who would give them the suitcases to be transported. so, they arrived in Amsterdam and met this associate. When he gave them the suitcases, he explained that — to give extra security protection for the valuable works of art — they were secured in special compartments in the cases covered by false bottoms. He probably further told them that the art pieces were extremely fragile, and so they should not try to move the bottoms to handle or look at the pieces in any way.

      They then flew on to Japan. Upon arriving at the Tokyo airport, the customs officer who examined them and their luggage, was, of course, well professionally trained about false bottoms. He readily removed them, and then he, and the three Bachurim clearly saw that underneath, there were NO art pieces; instead, only countless bags of the white Methamphetamine poison powder. The Bachurim were immediately arrested.

    • PART 2.) Now, throughout the countries of the Orient, criminals are very heavily punished. So, the prison that the three Bachurim were thrown into was completely NOT like prisons in the United States, which, in certain ways, are a little bit almost like resort hotels! Instead, where the Bachurim were placed was a quite “old fashioned” severely bleak dungeon.

      Numerous communal activists from the Chareidi Kehillos immediately began intensive frantic efforts to help the Bachurim, including hiring lawyers. Especially at that time, having to do this was exceedingly hard on the Frum world, for those were the years of the grave Wall Street & general economic crises, when countless previously financially well off people in the Frum communities lost huge $$$$ amounts and themselves became charity cases. Yet, with this new, bizarre crises, many hundreds of thousands of dollars had to be suddenly raised to pay for the needed specialized attorneys who knew Japanese law and were qualified to deal with the Japanese authorities.

      At one point, (to free the Bachurim) they offered to give over to the Japanese the wicked communal member, who was obviously the ringleader and the real villain of the situation. The Japanese though rejected that, stating that the Bachurim, they were ones who committed the crime. (During that period, the Yated Ne’eman published an interview they had with a Japanese Ger Tzedek – a Japanese man who converted to Judaism. He remarked that he wished that he had been involved with the Bachurim’s case, for he probably could have greatly helped it. He explained that the Japanese authorities were not, Chas V’Shalom, being sinister. Rather, the Japanese people have a certain mentality of being extremely, extremely rigid with extremely, extreme formality.)

      (The Rabbonim of the Satmer Kehila though, DID put that wicked communal member in Cheirem – did declare on him a ban of excommunication.)

      Boruch Hashem though, after exceedingly long tedious difficult negotiations, solutions with reduced sentences were reached. One of the three was declared to have completed his sentence in Japan and was released. The other two were allowed to complete their jail time in a prison in Israel (where, obviously, they would at least be close to their families and communities), with the provision that the Israeli prison could release them early for good behavior.

      So, Boruch Hashem, pretty soon after that, all three were released and restored back to their Satmer Kehilla. And, Boruch Hashem, they were all able to fully move forward with their lives; all three soon were married and are now raising up large B’nei Torah Mishpachas – large Torah observant families.

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