A resident of northern Israel is suspected of having instilled a regime of terror within a sect of his own making, and subjecting minors and adults to endless acts of torture, humiliation and sexual abuse.
Six families, including 11 parents and 25 children, were allegedly victims to the violent whims of the dictatorial figure, who, among other things, ordered parents to lock their children in bathrooms for hours and smear their faces with feces.
The suspect, a 56-year-old Arab resident of Majd al-Krum, was set for remand Tuesday. He is suspected of physical and mental abuse of minors, as well as attempted physical and psychological abuse of minors and sodomy.
Police heard the suspect was running the lives of the families that he subjected to his will, including their economic affairs, and forced the adults to behave violently towards their children for the purposes of instilling "proper education." The investigation began last month after one of the women, 46, left the sect and filed a complaint with the police.
According to police investigators, the families "developed total dependence of and blind faith in their despot and deposited their money in his hands for fear of making any mistakes." They added that "women worked for him and did cleaning work. When he wasn't happy with their work he used to imprison them for several days as punishment." The police said that the suspect allegedly committed offenses of a sexual nature against some of the women.
The suspect forced the parents to behave violently towards their children, including beating them with belts and shoes, in a way that "does not leave marks on the body of the children," according to the plaintiff. He also demanded that the parents provide him with detailed accounts on their sex lives in order to "provide solutions to their problems."
The suspect referred to himself as "Khalifa," a Muslim religious title, but the sect he created had no religious characteristics. After his arrest, the children were assigned social workers "in order to soothe, contain, and find out the needs of families that are perceived as victims of an abusive cult with all that entails," read the statement by the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services.
Police added that only after all the adults and the children involved are investigated will they decide whether to press charges against any of the other adults as well.