More Than a Request

Aug 8, 2012 by

When your wife asks for a divorce, you never really know what might happen next, especially if you don’t acquiesce to her request. Such is the case for an Israeli man who found out the hard way just how vindictive a woman scorned can be when he found himself the victim of an international kidnapping case planned as part of his wife’s desire for revenge.

Yisrael Briskman’s strange dilemma began in Israel over his refusal to give his wife a “get,” otherwise known as an Orthodox Jewish divorce document permitting his wife to remarry. Briskman’s refusal to give his wife a divorce eventually earned him a religious ruling from the High Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem that basically made him a pariah in his own community. The Court placed a public notice in religious publications that basically said the community was forbidden to have anything to do with Mr. Briskman as the notice said: “It is not permitted to extend to him a kindness or favor in any form.” That’s when the real trouble started.

According the FBI reports on the case, Briskman was lured out of Israel by a rabbi who had been considered a pillar of the community in the Orthodox neighborhood of Lakewood, New Jersey. Briskman was drawn to New Jersey under the pretence of helping the Rabbi work on a book about the Talmud, an important Jewish religious text. Rabbi David Wax and his wife Judy Wax now face kidnapping charges in the US and appeared in court in New Jersey before being released on $500,000 bail. Rabbi Wax has no history of criminal behavior, he is the father of eight children, and both he and his wife deny kidnapping Mr. Briskman.

Contrary to the Wax’s version of events, the FBI discovered that there had been five phone calls between the rabbi and a number associated with the Briskman’s wife’s family back in Israel, and that Briskman’s wife herself had arrived in New York the day before the alleged attack, and left the day after.

Then there is Mr. Briskman’s own description of the events which included being kidnapped, blindfolded and robbed. Briskman also said he could clearly see the rabbi under the blindfold as he was being kicked in the ribs. His attacker told Briskman the assault was his wife’s “revenge” and added: “For you there’s a special gift. It’s called a bullet.” FBI documents show Briskman was then shown a body bag and told that if he did not comply, he would be buried alive in the Pocono Mountains. Topping off the crime, the rabbi is also accused of phoning Mr. Briskman’s father in Israel to tell him he would be killed if he did not pay $100,000 to his wife who wanted a divorce.

It appears the rabbi and his wife are very guilty of helping Briskman’s wife carry out her elaborate revenge plot and will most likely do some jail time as a result, but it does bring to mind the question of repercussions for the person responsible for the whole affair, Briskman’s wife. Since she has retreated back to Israel and the rabbi denies any connection or responsibility, it appears Mrs. Briskman may have actually succeeded in getting her revenge without penalty.


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