May 22, 2022

Broken windows, questionable hygiene… Images of the Orthodox Jewish school suspected of kidnappings and abuse

On Monday, the gendarmes intervened in an Orthodox Jewish school devoted to the study of the Talmud in Seine-et-Marne. The school was suspected of sequestering some of its students against their will, mistreating them and forcing them to live in unsanitary conditions. BFMTV has obtained images from the premises.

In the Jewish religion, the Talmud is a set of commentaries on the Hebrew Bible in order to identify rules of life. But the testimonies and the elements collected for the moment by the justice show much less ethical considerations within the Talmudic school of Bussières in Seine-et-Marne, targeted Monday morning by a gendarmerie operation.

This is the latest step in an investigation launched last July after some of the residents of the Orthodox Jewish establishment fled. The structure faces heavy suspicion: kidnappings and abuse of its students, many of whom are minors. Its leaders were taken into custody. BFMTV went there and was able to obtain images of the scene.

Images of the Orthodox Jewish school in Bussières, in Seine-et-Marne
Images of the Orthodox Jewish school in Bussières, in Seine-et-Marne © BFMTV

Broken windows, gaping doors…

Broken windows, doors flapping in the wind, impossible to close. The decor captured by our cameras, sent this Tuesday to this solitary estate located in Bussières, in Seine-et-Marne, lends itself to the draft. However, he is suspected of having locked up a painful camera.

Because if our team was able to observe that most of the children were no longer present within the establishment, the Yeshiva Beth Yossef, the day after the passage of the police, reporting as the main presence the families of staff members , he is suspected of having kidnapped his students – many of whom were Israelis or Americans – of having mistreated them and forced them to live in unsanitary conditions. It is now up to the investigation to establish the veracity of the facts and to identify the responsibilities.

Images of the Orthodox Jewish school in Bussières, in Seine-et-Marne
Images of the Orthodox Jewish school in Bussières, in Seine-et-Marne © BFMTV

First reports

To understand the legal storm that is beating down on this (ultra) Orthodox Jewish school, we have to go back a few months.

On July 12, the interministerial mission for vigilance and the fight against sectarian aberrations – the famous Miviludes – issued a report to the Meaux prosecutor’s office. This communication itself follows a previous alert, made this time, as specified Monday evening by the Meaux prosecutor’s office in a press release, by the Laraéli Center for victims of cults.

This Israeli association is concerned about the alleged actions of the Bussières school. Reception of undeclared children, various forms of violence, deprivation of access to care, to education, forced breaks with families, aberrant hygienic conditions… The picture is particularly bleak.

The leaks

It is moreover corroborated by the facts denounced by a child who has just taken refuge at the American embassy, ​​after having succeeded in extricating himself from the Yeshiva Beth Yossef. Still in July, the Meaux prosecutor’s office then opened an investigation, entrusted to the Paris research section. Its leaders: sequestration in an organized gang, aggravated violence, deprivation of care and food, aggravated abuse of weakness.

It soon appears that the prohibition to see his family was added to the confiscation of identity papers. While the suspicions of kidnapping relate to Israeli or American minors, one still notices that the isolation is here redoubled by the fact that the children in question do not master French.

The press release from the Meaux prosecutor’s office, published this Monday at the end of the day and which explicitly mentions these fears of abuse and “degraded living conditions”, further notes that after this first escape, several young residents also manage to escape. , in November and then in December. The testimonies overlap. They are further reinforced by the words of former registrants, solicited by the investigators.

Images of the Orthodox Jewish school in Bussières, in Seine-et-Marne
Images of the Orthodox Jewish school in Bussières, in Seine-et-Marne © BFMTV

Gendarmes, Children’s Aid and rabbi: a large-scale operation

According to the press release from the public prosecutor of Meaux, Laureline Peyrefitte, this Monday evening, the investigations also showed that the building accommodating these forced residents had received a municipal decree closing it to the public because of its dilapidation and that its access had been refused to the members of the prefecture dispatched on the spot.

This preliminary collection of elements feeds a damning file and the time to act therefore strikes this Monday, with the operation carried out by the gendarmerie within the Talmudic establishment. In addition to the gendarmes, the operation involved the help of the services of the Childhood Social Aid, forensic doctors, and even a rabbi. The presence of the officiant is justified by the desire to “ensure respect for the religious rites essential to minors”, according to the office of the magistrate.

Justice will be interested in the financial aspect

Those responsible were arrested and taken into custody to be heard. The Parisian, who initially reported the information on Monday, put the number of those in custody at 16. If the school was almost emptied of its occupants, it still admitted 40 minor students and 20 adults in recent days, according to the accounts drawn up by the Ile-de-France newspaper.

Finally, according to the press release from the Meaux prosecutor’s office, the justice system also scrutinizes the general operation of the site, that is to say at the financial, fiscal and administrative levels.

Robin Verner

Robin Verner BFMTV journalist