A recent report has revealed that a network of Israeli rabbis has been actively involved in the underground baby trafficking trade and smuggling pregnant women from the occupied territories to the United States to sell their newborn babies there.
According to a report published by Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Monday, the network was run by Haim Aharon Yosefi, who is a well-known businessman and figure in the world of ultra-Orthodox Haredi Judaism.
During his meetings with Devorah Leah, the undercover investigator who presented herself as a young pregnant Haredi woman, Yosefi revealed that he takes young, pregnant Haredi women from Israel to the United States to give birth before giving the child away in an “adoption” arrangement for a fee.
Yosefi, who is also a member of Degel HaTorah – the Lithuanian faction of the United Torah Judaism party – told the woman that she would get $50,000 in exchange for her fetus.
“If I tell you who I’m connected to, you’ll be blown away; officials in the Interior Ministry, army, the police and different municipalities. I once had an arrangement with an official in the Interior Ministry where I would provide her with interest-free loans and she would help me in return,” he told Devorah.
Devorah’s first meeting with Yosefi took place at a hotel in Jerusalem al-Quds, while her second and third meetings were held in the basement office of ultra-Orthodox Lev Shomea organization.
Yosefi then outlined the entire birthing process to Devorah, beginning with his accompanying her to the US up to the birth itself.
The well-known rabbi noted that he would then organize a “host family” in the US, with whom she would live until the birth. He said the family would cover all expenses, including clothing, makeup, medical insurance, the birth and doctors.
Yosefi also told Devorah that he could assist her with “a bag of excuses” if her parents inquired about the period of time she had to disappear and go to the United States.
Yedioth Ahronoth learned of Yosefi’s activities through testimony provided by a woman named Esther, who recounted her experiences with him when her infant son was sold to a couple in the United States.
Six months ago, Yosefi was arrested and interrogated on suspicion of document forging and issuing exemptions to young ultra-Orthodox men through psychiatrists who work with the Israeli military.