Israeli Supreme Court hears appeal against world’s first ever conviction for “mind control”

Ambash women
Professor Georges-Elia Sarfati, philosopher and psychoanalyst, the Sarbonne, Paris, writes:

The question of moral judgment on a family’s personal lifestyle choice is on trial in the Israeli Supreme Court in Tel Aviv on 28 March.

Whatever our own personal views may be regarding an extended family, the legal issues are more pressing. Namely, how far can a justice system go into the personal lives of citizens who have not committed any proven crime?

In the case of Daniel Ambash, his women and children were forced to make false confessions. Some of the women were tortured and beaten, held in prison without charge until acquitted a year later, and are now neither perpetrators nor victims of so-called heinous acts under alleged mind control.

No evidence

Daniel Ambash was sentenced to 26 years in prison, with no hard evidence, no DNA reports, no psychiatric tests on him or his alleged victims, nor forensic evidence.

The case appears to be the first of its kind in the world, where a state takes the United Nations conventions against slavery and forced labour – intended to address physical conditions of captivity – and extends their interpretation to include mental slavery, i.e. slaves who are free to come and go as they please but are dominated by some telepathic power of “mind control”.

While these international conventions are intended to protect employees, in particular domestic and household workers brought from third world countries to affluent countries, or in some cases (e.g. former Yugoslavia) protect from rape in the context of ethnic cleansing, the Jerusalem District Court believed that they can also apply to any husband and wife relationships, in such a way that the husband can be deemed as recipient of forced labour and sexual favours from his own wife or wives.

Aderet Ambash one of Mr Ambash’s women, says:

One day in July 2011 the police raided our house and arrested everybody. We were all charged with raping each other. Children were charged with raping other children. It was a fiasco.

Aderet Ambash is a Jewish Orthodox woman who spent a year in jail for refusing to become a state witness and fabricate lies.

Flawed theories

In the recent legal persecution of another polygamous commune in Tel Aviv, the so-called “Goel Ratzon Cult”, the District Court in Tel Aviv ruled that the theory of mental slavery is scientifically false, and that it cannot apply within the meaning of the UN conventions against slavery and forced labour.

The Jerusalem prosecutor in the Ambash case, Mr Yair Chamudot, claims that the Tel Aviv District Court Judges’ view that mental slavery and mind control theories do not exist, is wrong. However, the ruling in the case of Goel Ratzon that forced labour and slavery must be limited to a setting of physical, not mental, confinement was upheld by the Supreme Court last year.

This is the first time ever that a person was convicted of perpetrating crimes in the context of mental slavery and mental captivity of his victims, and the victims vehemently deny that they are victims

The Jerusalem District Court found Mr Ambash guilty of 18 counts of enslavement, rape and other counts of molestation. The victims are the same women who appeared as defence witnesses and claimed that they were not victimised and no rapes ever occurred. Bizarrely, they were held victims, contrary to their own statements.

This is the first time ever that a person was convicted of perpetrating crimes in the context of mental slavery and mental captivity of his victims, and the victims vehemently deny that they are victims.

Shiran Ambash, another woman, says:

One woman, Simcha Cohen, was intimidated by the prosecutors, Sagi Ofir and Liza Wulfuss. I cannot understand why the Jerusalem District Court believes her, even though there was not even one witness.

Zvi Zer, the attorney representing Ambash, says:

The first error of the court was that slavery and forced labour cannot be induced by mental forces. The wild allegations of sex with animals and pagan scenarios of rape never really happened. In order to say that a victim was influenced by cosmic and telepathic powers, the court would have needed psychiatric evaluations, and there were none. It is astonishing how a plethora of horrendous stories was deemed credible without any solid evidence, forensic or psychiatric. Witnesses were coerced to fabricate fantasies.

Indeed, reading the verdict of the Jerusalem District Court makes clear that the legal theory of taking control over people’s minds was similar to witchcraft.

Yet, the entire process of one mind overpowered by another mind happens entirely in the mental sphere, and therefore leaves no hard evidence. The Supreme Court of Israel will have to decide whether it is scientifically possible.

Dubious firsts

The Israeli courts have many of the world’s firsts. A father from the USA was recently sentenced to 30 days imprisonment for allegedly supporting his own son in a complicated divorce case. Another man was sentenced to life in prison for a dream his daughter claimed to have had of abuse over 20 years earlier.

The conviction rate of 99.8 per cent accompanied by over 80 per cent of false claims lends the courts to accepting testimonies as a fact.

The crimes of the police in beating innocent women into admitting crimes they deny, holding them in prison for a year prior to a trial which ultimately concluded in their full acquittal, forcing young children to testify against their parents literally days after being removed from their family (later retracted but not supplied as evidence) – these are the questions being raised in the Supreme Court on 28 March.

New evidence shows that the first lawyer defending Mr Ambash had a clear conflict of interest and deliberately held back on evidence which could have proved Mr Ambash’s innocence. Other new evidence of “doctored” tapes, and withheld evidence, will also be submitted at the Supreme Court hearing.

Tape recordings were seemingly doctored by the authorities. One of the 12 children removed by the Israeli social services escaped from the pressure and is now in Paris, deemed to be a juvenile criminal.

“Justice” system on trial

It is surely the Israeli justice system which is on trial this week in an extraordinary case of a Frenchman who spent over 20 years living quietly in a family environment which, according to testimonies, suited everyone involved.

As a society, we tend to make judgments on lifestyles, yet if we condemn people on moral and not legal bases where would it all lead to?

If no evidence can be provided after five years, the Supreme Court of Israel is on trial to show its clear processes and procedures. The chances of the family being restored are slim, yet the distinction between a moral and legal crime must be made, otherwise we lose our own moral compass.

More than a dozen people were traumatised to get a conviction, and live in the hope that they will see justice done. The decision of the Supreme Court could clear the way for more appeals or close the doors on many other people held in prison.

Are the morals of the family really on trial, or the morals of the judges in this case who until now have had the protection of censorship by the Israeli minister of communications, none other than Binyamin Netanyahu himself?

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