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Monday
Jul182011

Couple Allegedly Kidnaps Man to Force Him to Grant Jewish Divorce

Comstock/Thinkstock(TRENTON, N.J.) -- A middle-aged Jewish couple has been charged with luring an Israeli man to their suburban New Jersey home and allegedly holding him hostage until he agreed to grant his wife a religious divorce.

David and Judy Wax, 49 and 47, were scheduled to appear in federal court in Trenton on Monday, face up to life in prison for kidnapping if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, the Waxes convinced the victim, known only by his initials, Y.M.B, to come to their Lakewood home in the early morning hours of Oct. 17, 2010 to discuss the Talmud. After he arrived, two unidentified males jumped him in a second-floor bedroom, punching him in the face.

After the attackers allegedly handcuffed, bound and blindfolded the victim, the victim said that he heard them say he had to grant his wife a divorce without receiving custody of the children. The victim said that David Wax then picked the victim's head off the floor, allowing him to see under the blindfold. Wax was wearing a white cowboy hat. "Do you like my hat?" asked Wax, before allegedly kicking the victim in the ribs.

The victim was also allegedly shown a body bag and told "that if he did not comply, he would be buried alive in the Pocono Mountains," according to the complaint. The Poconos are a popular resort area in Eastern Pennsylvania. Wax allegedly laid the body bag on the victim and said, "For you to get used to the size."

The victim and his ex-wife had been engaged in a contested divorce in Rabbinical court in Israel. The victim had moved to the United States, where he continued to refuse to give his wife a "get," a divorce under Orthodox Jewish law. A "get "would permit her to remarry.

According to the alleged victim, he was held hostage for several hours and threatened with harm if he didn't verbally consent to the "get." The victim said that he consented to the divorce within the first half hour of his captivity, but was forced to consent to the divorce again and again in both English and Hebrew. He was also told that his father in Israel had to pay $100,000 to his ex-wife.

At 3:00 a.m., David Wax and the victim allegedly went by taxi to an ATM to attempt to withdraw money.

According to the complaint, the taxi driver told the men that a car was following the taxi. Wax said he was aware of the car. He allegedly told the victim that he had an "Italian team" in the following car who would take victim to the Poconos and bury him alive. Wax also allegedly called the victim's father in Israel and threatened him with a "special gift...called a bullet...in your head" if he didn't cooperate. He also said that others had wanted to give the victim "to mice in the mountains to eat him," but that the son had been spared because he agreed to the divorce.

According to the complaint, Judy Wax then drove the victim to his cousin's house in Brooklyn, New York and dropped him off.

Mitchell Ansell, attorney for David Wax, said that his client is not guilty and has always maintained his innocence. "He has no history of violence or criminal behavior, and he is the father of eight children. We're confident that when all the facts are made public that he will be cleared of these charges and his good and honorable name will be restored."

An attorney for Judy Wax did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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