The organization representing the Jewish community in Amsterdam has severed ties with Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs because of the Chief Rabbi’s involvement in covering up child sexual abuse.
This is according to a letter by David Brilleslijper, Chairman of the Jewish community of Amsterdam (NIHS), which was obtained by The Parool. (A leading Dutch newspaper.)
These actions mark the first time that a Jewish organization has distanced itself from the Chief Rabbi, after years of allegations of his involvement in several abuse cases.
Jacobs is chief rabbi of all Jewish communities in The Netherlands, except for the capitol Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam.
Several parents came forward and testified that Jacobs urged them in 2012 to not report to the authorities, the sexual abuse suffered by their children at the hands of a teacher employed at the Cheider.
Jacobs warned them of “severe penalties” of falsely reporting crimes, and that their children, the abuse victims, would not be able to find suitable marriage candidates within the Jewish community.
Because of the delay in reporting to the police, the teacher suspected of sexual abuse, Ephraim S, was able to flee to Israel where he became a citizen.
After lengthy legal battles, he was extradited in 2016. On Wednesday he will appear in front of a judge for the initial hearing of the case.
Jacobs denied these accusations. He maintained that he followed the protocols of the education inspection.
However, this week it became clear from evidence of the Telegraaf and NRC (Leading Dutch newspapers), that only after severe pressure from the then Minister of Education, Marja van Bijsterveldt, did the school finally report the abuse of Ephraim S.
According to Brilleslijper, there have been numerous attempts to engage in a conversation with Jacobs regarding these abuse allegations, but the Chief Rabbi ignored these requests.
“With great regret we conclude that you (Jacobs) do not want to engage in a conversation about the allegations with the NIHS, therefore, we have to suspend any contact with yourselves until such date where this discussion takes place,” wrote Brilleslijper in his letter to Jacobs.
Brilleslijper added in writing that his community has suspended any contact with rabbinical organizations where Jacobs fulfils any roles, and that from now on they will only engage with Amsterdam based Rabbis.
In the meantime, the VVD (main Dutch political party) stated in Parliamentary questions on this matter that the board and management of the Cheider have been advised to step down.