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Jerusalem - Former Behadrey Haredim CEO Making Headlines After Being Indicted For Blackmail

Published on: June 25, 2015 08:51 PM
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*FILE** Guy Cohen (C), Former CEO Ultra-Orthodox website Behadrei Haredim seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on April 16 2012. Photo by Uri Lenz/Flash90*FILE** Guy Cohen (C), Former CEO Ultra-Orthodox website Behadrei Haredim seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on April 16 2012. Photo by Uri Lenz/Flash90

Jerusalem - After a three-year long investigation, Guy Cohen, former CEO of the ultra-Orthodox news site Behadrey Haredim, and his deputy Uri Zur, have been indicted, charged with blackmailing high profile rabbis and businessmen. Blackmail victims were forced to buy ad space for a considerable price in exchange for the removal of negative stories posted about them on the site, Ha’aretz reports (http://bit.ly/1e6glhR).

Unsealed this week in Jerusalem District Court, the 11 count indictment includes charges for extortion and blackmail against Haredi organizations and individuals between 2010 and 2012. The indictment states “the defendant had threatened to illicitly harm a person, his livelihood, property, and reputation and to breach his privacy by threatening to publish, or not to publish, content regarding himself or another person . . . [they] extorted them with threats, conditioning the removal of the comments on receiving payment.”


In one case, victim Yaakov Berger was given a deal by Cohen that would allow him to “sleep quietly” after a clip of Berger surfaced showing him engaged in an alleged adulterous incident at a Berger family affair. Berger requested that the clip be removed, but was told he’d have to buy a “first class” service with a one year commitment. When Berger refused, Behadrey Haredim ran an article entitled, “Expose! Berger and the compromise agreement” which said a photographer from a Jerusalem hotel and a private eye’s secret intelligence gathering had resulted in a compromise deal between Berger and his wife.

Rabbis Eliezer Berland and Yoshiyhu Pinto were also targeted after negative reports on the site surfaced against them. Cohen told Berland’s aides that a deal could be reached for 30,000 shekels a month “to create a positive image for the community.”

In most cases, the defendants told their victims that negative coverage could only be removed in exchange for an “overall advertising deal” which would provide “protection from posting negative or offensive content on the forum.” The agreement between the plaintiffs and the defendants was a verbal one. Although many news editors, journalists and public relations agents from the Haredi community were involved in some of the cases, no charges were filed against them.

The news site is now under new management with Meir Gal at the helm.

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Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »


 Jun 26, 2015 at 12:23 AM lazerx Says:

Interesting to note that the indicted CEO of Chadrai Charadim is not religious, yet he ran the site for frum people!


 Jun 26, 2015 at 03:06 AM Ramat Beit Shemesh resident Says:

Here in RBS, advertisers in different magazines have been threatened for advertising in freebie mags that post pictures of ....little girls playing with toys. Ladies wearing a tznanua dress. SOLDIERS who protect these creeps. Similarly, the magazines themselves have been threatened for publishing these highly offensive pictures.

Ultra-religious fanatics are doing their best to turn our city into a shtetl run by crazies. But the good news is, we are fighting back.

FYI _ I am a chassidishe married bubby. This obsession is nauseating. They need to get jobs and spend less time reading these mags. BTW I wonder what other kinds of stuff they read - all for research purposes, I'm sure. They aren't protesting outside the offices of those types of publications or threatening them.


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