Auction 124 Part 1 Clearance Sale Part 1
Sep 22, 2020 (your local time)
 3 Shatner Center 1st Floor Givat Shaul Jerusalem

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We have assembled approximately 700 interesting, rare and diverse items across various areas of interest whose common denominator is their low opening price, much lower than their real value.

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LOT 6:

The Catholic Church, Mafioso William Nakash and Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, the Rishon LeTziyon. Jerusalem, 1987. ...

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Sold for: $260
Start price:
$ 100
Estimated price:
$800 - $1,000
Auction house commission: 25% More details
VAT: 17% On commission only

The Catholic Church, Mafioso William Nakash and Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, the Rishon LeTziyon. Jerusalem, 1987. Historically Important Letter

Lengthy letter, very important in its historic aspect. From the Rishon LeTziyon and chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, to the Council of Cardinals in France, with respect to the extradition of a member of the Algerian mafia in France (considered one of the most brutal mafias in Europe), hitman William Nakash.

William Nakash was a Jewish-French-Algerian mafioso, a known figure in the Parisian underworld. He was hired in 1983 to assassinate a person named Abdullah Khaker following a conflict about control of the nightclubs in the city of lights. Nakash, leading a squad of three assassins, shot Abdullah Khaker with 14 bullets and Khaker died on the spot. Nakash's two partners in the murder were caught a few days later. Nakash, however, fled to Israel, immediately becoming a citizen under the Law of Return, using the fake name Rudy Atlan. The French government submitted a request to the State of Israel that he be extradited to France, but Nakash disappeared as if the earth had swallowed him up.

In March of 1987, the Israeli Supreme Court, under the leadership of Meir Shamgar, decided against Minister of Justice Avraham Sarir's decision opposing extraditing Nakash. This for fear of his personal safety in prison in France. The Court clarified that the minister's authority is not unlimited, and he does not have the freedom to decide this case. Nakash was extradited to France in 1987 and was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment.

The letter before us, revealed here for the first time, is an official letter bearing the State emblem at its top. According to the date, it was written several months after the the Supreme Court's immediate extradition decision. Yet the letter writer, the person holding the highest rabbinical position in the State of Israel, considered one of its pre-eminent symbols, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, continued working behind the scenes, in a completely official capacity, to reverse the decision of the Supreme Court.

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, considered the spiritual leader of the Mizrachi movement, known as a G-dly Kabbalist and lofty tzaddik, did not shy away from the inherent contradiction in the letter. Even more so, he sent the letter, with great irony, specifically to the Catholic cardinals in Paris, despite the fact that Nakash had just attempted to strike at one of the symbols of Christianity in Israel and rob the church treasury. Rabbi Eliyahu conducted himself as have leaders of the Jewish people  throughout the generations - his personal honor is not his uppermost concern when there is a possibility of saving a Jew whose life hangs in the balance, with death awaiting him behind the prison bars in France - at the hands of the rival Corsican mafia. Rabbi Eliyahu believed this with his whole heart (although it was proven to be untrue in the end). The rabbi did all he could to prevent the extradition even at the cost of damaging the rabbinate's honor, and even to some degree bringing insult to the Supreme Court and the State.

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu appeals in this lengthy letter to the Council of Cardinals in France requesting assistance on a religious and humane matter of utmost importance, to exert its influence on President François Mitterand to cancel the extradition. The rabbi details William Nakash's "suffering, " and more so, that of his expectant young wife, and requests that in order to prevent inordinate suffering, William Nakash be tried in Israel and serve his sentence there. The rabbi stresses that Nakash's new wife refuses to emigrate to France to be near her husband, and Nakash himself refuses to legally divorce his wife, resulting in her being doomed to becoming an agunah. However, if Nakash were to serve his sentence in Israel, they could still have a semblance of a family life. The rabbi notes that a woman who becomes a "living widow" is a serious tragedy in Judaism, in the visions of prophets and in all religious cultures of the world.

[2] leaves. 27 cm. Official chief rabbi of Israel stationery, signed and stamped  with the rabbi's official stamp. Very fine condition.

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