Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Lebanese Palestinian fools Jewish Girl & Marries Her in Flatbush


 A shocking story of deceit and betrayal has rocked the Jewish community in the US.

A Lebanese person claiming to be a chareidi Jew named Eliyah Haliwa joined the Texas Jewish community and became affiliated with the local Chabad representatives. The man displayed a spurious ancestral lineage to prove his Jewish descent.

While he was in Texas, the man met a Jewish girl of Syrian descent and they decided to get married. The man allegedly did not know at first that the girl was Jewish and she did not know that he was Lebanese. As their relationship developed, the man became more involved in the Jewish community in Texas and even learnt to speak fluent Hebrew. The girl was convinced that he was Jewish and religious although she now knew his Lebanese descent, and the two eventually married in New York.

A few weeks after her marriage, the woman become suspicious of various things about her new husband’s behavior and one night she discovered a Lebanese passport with his photo and another Arabic name on it. She immediately contacted family and friends, who reached out to the authorities. The woman is now reportedly living in a safe house.

The FBI is apparently investigating the shocking incident. “Eliyahu”‘s lineage contained fake Ashkenazic names including Meyer Lansky, the name of a former Jewish gangster. He also claimed to work at NSA and produced a fake “letter” from his workmates there. He had also provided a plausible explanation why his family were not able to attend the wedding.

The US Home Department was also notified as well as the Israeli consulate in New York. The authorities are verifying if the man entered the US illegally.

A senior member of the Chabad community in the US told Be’Chadrei Chareidim  that “Chabad did not convert this Shiite Lebanese imposter and did not perform the wedding or get involved in any way in the identity of the man.

“This is an unfortunate case of a confused youth who struck up a virtual relationship with a member of the Syrian Jewish community who was mortified to discover after her marriage that he was not Jewish. A Chabad rabbi in Texas was asked by the officiating rabbi to walk the groom to the Chupah since he did not have any close relatives in the US.”

The following statement was released by Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff, the Chabad rabbi in Texas:

Since 2007, the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at Texas A & M has been serving all Jewish faculty and students to explore their Judaism.

A student, presenting himself as Eliyah Hawila, who frequented campus Jewish institutions (including serving as president at one), began visiting Chabad in 2018 (he never studied at a Chabad affiliated yeshiva, nor was he proficient in Hebrew).

Last year he met a woman from N.Y. on a Jewish dating website.

He falsely presented himself to her as observant. When I was asked by the woman, I informed her that from what I observed his conduct did not reflect that of an observant Jew.

The fundamental responsibility of the officiating rabbi at a wedding, the mesader kiddushin, is to determine the Jewish status (birur hayahadut) of the couple and ensure that they are both Jewish, single and allowed to marry each other in accordance with Jewish law. I was not officiating the marriage ceremony, nor were we involved in the wedding preparations and our attendance was predicated on the understanding that the officiating rabbi had done their due diligence to confirm the groom’s Jewish status.

The wedding was supposed to be officiated by Rabbi Ezra Zafrani of Lakewood, NJ. He prepared the ketuba, but was ultimately not able to attend and his son, Rabbi David Zafrani, officiated.

Prior to the wedding, Rabbi Ezra Zafrani and Rabbi David Zafrani did not inquire with me about his Jewish status. In advance of the wedding, the father of the bride asked me about his Jewish status and I told him I don’t know and the officiating rabbi needs to determine that.

Mrs. Zafrani requested that we join the wedding at the couple’s behest, as my wife and I would be in NY then. At the wedding, I was told that his Jewish status was confirmed. As the groom had no family attending, at the request of the couple and the Zafranis, we walked him down to the chuppah and I signed the ketubah.

We were clearly all misled about his identity. Our hearts go out to this woman, her family and everyone else deceived by this individual here in Texas and in New York and New Jersey.

Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff
Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at Texas A&M University


Unknown said...

you as a rabbi should know .you can not sign a ketubah till you know for fact he was jewish ,so you are just as guilty.if you had any doubt you should of refrain from even going there

Anonymous said...

The Mesader Kedushin is very irresponsible for officiating at a wedding like this . It is his halachic obligation to verify identity of the parties. Zafrani screwed up.