CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The city of Bnei Brak, populated primarily by Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews has the highest incidence of sexual offenses, according to Israeli police.
"The number of sexual offenses in the Bnei Brak area is higher than in any other city by tens of percentage points," said one senior Tel Aviv District police officer. "It is clear to us that we do not know about many cases, which are not even reported because of the well-known fact that in the Haredi community, there is great reluctance about reporting such incidents," he said.
In recent months, area police have investigated 10 sexual assaults on girls averaging 12 years of age, with two confirmed rapes and the rest attempted rape or indecent assault.
The young victims' descriptions of their attackers, both the way he was dressed and the way he stalked them, were strikingly similar.
Police have begun working more closely with the city's rabbis, who are encouraging parents to report incidences of sexual abuse to the authorities.
"Contrary to the past, there is greater trust in the police and less shame in filing a complaint," a Bnei Brak resident told the Israeli daily Haaretz Sunday.
"Now the approach tends to be toward involving the police as soon as possible after we learn that an attack has taken place. There are reports in various places, especially in schools and in letters to parents, warning against the phenomena that threaten the children," he said, adding that families often choose mediators to talk with police.
Still, police believe the number of official complaints is far below the assaults that take place.
"This is a widespread phenomenon," one police officer said. "The problem is that it's a closed community where it's not customary to report such cases. Sexual assailants and other kinds of criminals know they can operate fearlessly in Bnei Brak, and they know the chances of complaints being filed against them are minimal," he said.