Jonah (Jason) Weinberg, a 37 year-old who recently immigrated to Israel and took up residence in Har Nof, Jerusalem. Seems like any other Oleh, but his neighbors discovered that he is a convicted pedophilia in the United States and even spent time in prison. “This is a pedophile defined by the US authorities as a danger to the public. Since coming to the neighborhood we live in constant fear and worry about our children. He must not be allowed to exploit his Jewishness to get citizenship.” His neighbors say.
Weinberg, who until recently lived in New York, was convicted in 2009 of sexual abuse of two children aged 13 and sentenced to 13 months in prison. His name and photo were publicized in the US media and he was registered as a level 3 sex offender, the highest designation, which means he carries the highest risk of re-offending and remains a danger to the public. Since immigrating to Israel with a tourist visa he has lived in Har Nof, Weinberg has now filed a request for Israeli citizenship “.
Isaac (not his real name), a new immigrant who lives in Har Nof, who recognized Weinberg from Brooklyn, was shocked to discover that he had recently moved in next to him: “This is a man whose actions are well-known in the New York Jewish community and the thought that he lives near my children is shocking. Every time I send the kids to school I tremble at the thought that he is hanging around the neighborhood schools. It is inconceivable that a person who committed such crimes would benefit from the status of ‘newcomer’ just because he was a Jew. Is this Zionism? This is an award for criminals”.
Two weeks ago, Isaac went to the police station in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem and asked to take action against Weinberg but he was told that there was no suspicion Weinberg committed offenses in the country and no complain has been filed against him. Jerusalem Police explained that they have no authority to investigate crimes in the United States. The Ministry of Justice stated that they had not received any request from the US authorities regarding Weinberg.
A Har Nof resident related: “We are working to bring this story to a conclusion for our children, but we are doing this with caution as not to harm him. He was not violent towards us, but based on the opinion of the American authorities, it can be understood that he can be violent towards our children”
Neighbors’ concerns are based in part on US media reports, including the Daily News, according to which, the Jewish community of Brooklyn wants Weinberg investigated on other offenses allegedly committed. A neighbor who lives in the same building as Weinberg said: “We know his story very well. It is really shocking to think that he lives right here in the building. His picture in the list of sex offenders does not leave my mind. It is scary to know that such a person lives near my children, and we will do everything possible so that he will not become a citizen.”
David Morris, CEO of the organization “Magenu” which protects child, has begun to act to prevent Weinberg from receiving Israeli citizenship. Morris told Ynet: “The question of what can be done to make this right is complex. We are working with both the authorities in the United States to extradite him, and with the authorities in Israel to not accept his citizenship request”.
Weinberg and his wife refused to comment on the report. His attorney, Eitan Lehman, said this week that from a legal perspective there are no new claims against Weinberg and he paid his debt to society. He clarified further that they have certification from the police in New York that no new complaint was filed against him. Mr. Lehmann said: “It was established that he committed acts, but he served his sentence quite a few years ago and the matter behind us. We are a nation of laws, once a person has served his sentence and paid his debt to society, there is nothing more to do.”
About obtaining citizenship Lehman lawyer said: “He is a Jew, legally there is no real reason not to give it, but like every other person who comes to Israel, it will be tested at the Interior Ministry.” He also noted that Weinberg disputes his qualification as a dangerous level 3 sex offender, and there are legal procedures in process to change this, he claims the offense he committed was relatively low level.
Regarding reports in the United States, according to which there is an investigation of additional offenses by Weinberg, Mr. Lehmann says: “This is a false claim, there are no new complaints and no new acts. If there was any complaint against him, he would not have been allowed to leave the United States. He did not run away, he did not fake anything and did not get here with fraud. He left New York with his American passport. This (the new charges) have awakened based on illegitimate motives. It seems that it’s easy to provoke hysteria and panic. This is a man who wanted to come to Israel for Zionist reasons and to start over. ”
Weinberg is not wanted (in Israel) for questioning on new offenses, and therefore the Israeli police are not intervening for the moment on the issue. An official police response stated: “We do not give data about citizens, let alone about the alleged investigation by overseas law enforcement authorities.”