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Monday, May 20, 2024 

Why it's hard to feel sorry for this man who wound up in prison for smuggling drugs

In this article sponsored by Chesed, which is an ultra-Orthodox charity fund, they're asking for funding the defense of a Haredi man who was arrested for drug smuggling in Moldova, which he claims he was tricked into carrying by an alleged friend:
Natan Peretz, 32, is a kind and giving man. Little did he know, an act of kindness would ruin his life.

In December of last year, Peretz visited Europe to pray at the gravesites of several esteemed rabbis. During his travels, he ran into an old acquaintance. After speaking about Natan’s struggles with supporting his family, the acquaintance offered to employ him on “small, easy jobs.” Naively, Natan agreed. The acquaintance gave him a suitcase filled with what he said was dog food, and offered him $500 to transport the bag to Moldova.

It was only when the police approached him at the Moldovan airport that Natan understood he had been deceived. The bag was filled with drugs
So he just took the bag unreservedly, without even opening it, to see what was inside? And it didn't occur to the guy that transporting even dog food could require a license to sell? I'm sorry, but there's just something so absurd about this whole affair, and it's stunning how certain people don't comprehend that many law enforcement and airline systems warn people why you shouldn't take items from strangers for exactly these reasons.
Natan Peretz was immediately transported to prison, where he waited for 30 excruciating days without trial. The Peretz family assumed that the process would be simple: His innocence would be determined, and he would be released. The Moldovan court systems, however, are rife with bureaucracy. The trial has dragged on for five months.

Now, the Peretz family has run out of funds to continue employing their lawyer. Without anyone to fight for his case, Natan will spend the rest of his life in prison.

In the five months that have passed, Natan has lived off of the small amount of kosher food brought to him by Jews of the community. He has become emaciated, and is ill from malnutrition. He is surrounded by violent criminals, who hate him for being Jewish. More time in Moldovan prison would be a death sentence.

Donations are being collected for this urgent mitzvah of “pidyon shvuyim,” releasing a captive. The campaign page has Natan’s wife Chava’s personal appeal to save her husband’s life. Every day that passes without a lawyer, Natan’s future seems more bleak. Those who help are bringing a ray of hope to the Jewish prisoner, and to the wife and small child he left behind.
Well I think it's a shame his family has to suffer because of this, but then, why did he even take a shady job in the first place to support his family? Anybody who's that desperate for dough at the expense of moral values needs a head exam. If anything, this suggests drug trafficking is rampant in Haredi clans, and there have been Haredis who've gotten into serious trouble over this in years past, regardless of whether they knew or not what they were carrying for some scumbag.

Some of the commentors on the page weren't impressed either, and one said:
Is this for real? 500$ for transporting dog food IN A SUITCASE into another country and he just did, no questions asked? Sorry but if you're gonna try to use pity to steal money make up a better, believable story.
Another said:
just another primitive shakedown attempt, courtesy of chesedtoday sham club. Arutz7 is a turf of the gang. Surprised Arutz7 lets them putting in the racket time and again.

smuggling dogcrap for $500... what a tzaddik

who can believe such a sob story that Peretz is so gullible and stupid that takes a suitcase of unknown content from his "long lost friend". Boo-hoo

obviously, peretz is a drug mule and not the first upright tzaddik caught, neither the last.

chesedtoday also collected money for freeing a nice jewish woman from under an arab in their bed where she spent a long time already. brilliant racket oy gevalt
Like most of their solicitations it sounds far fetched. When you click the link, theres a video that says "Innocent Jewish Man escorted to jail" but in their own statement, it says he did actually commit the crime of transporting drugs. Being a religous Jew is great, but its not a get out of jail free card.
Hmm, how odd indeed. And of course, even ultra-Orthodox have to recognize the vitality of responsibility, which the man in focus here did not. Somebody else says:
Beware donating to Chesed Today charities. They dont disclose important accountability criteria and other disclosures, such as donor privacy policy. document retention policy, whistleblower policy, executive compensation, IRS form 990, etc.
They probably don't respect important legal privacy issues either. Next:
If someone gives me a suitcase of 'dog food' to take to 'another country', I would damn well open it and inspect it and test it out on some dogs and then transfer the 'dog food' to another suitcase with no hidden pockets that I buy myself, and if the person who gives it to me doesn't want any of this done, I would be just a little suspicious and refuse to do the job. This is not brain surgery.
Yup, strange the man didn't even open the case. Next:
Todd Parker has questioned the veracity of this story and called it far-fetched.

He and Dope has written negatively about Chesed Fund.

I have done neither, but I have commented that, other than Chesed Fund and Arutz 7, no other media appears to have this story.

And to date, there has been no response to my observations.
If it's all a falsehood, that's very grave. One can also validly wonder what yeshiva student even has the moolah to travel across Europe visiting the graves of Judaist figures in the first place. If the man's guilty of willful drug trafficking, he's embarrassed the figures whose graves he claims to have attended, and he belongs in prison, end of story. If he's encountered antisemitism, that's sad, but it doesn't excuse any willful participation in illegal activity on his part. So, enough with the sob stories, please. Seriously, Arutz 7 shouldn't be running stuff like this.

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