Scientology in Israel: Arson, Attempted Murder, Foreclosure, General Paranoia -- And a Visit by the Voice!

Categories: Scientology

SciJaffaFront.jpg
Scientology's unopened building in Jaffa
Here at the Voice we've reported this year on some pretty hard to believe worldwide developments in the ongoing Scientology saga -- from allegations of lying about child molestation in Australia, to splitting up families in California, to a months long siege by an intimidation squad in South Texas, to bizarre interference with a company trying to bring a life-saving machine to market in Florida.

But nothing seemed quite as strange, as wild, as ready for a Hollywood movie, as what has been happening with a Scientology building in Jaffa, Israel. We could hardly believe our eyes as we read about an attempt to blow up the Scientology facility -- and allegedly by Scientology's own agent. There was a botched car bombing that hurt a man and his young daughter. There were allegations of a religiously-themed frame job, of a failed attempt to assassinate a local government official by thugs dressed as police officers -- it just got stranger and stranger. We devoured stories about the allegations, but it was difficult to tell exactly what was going with Scientology's "org" as it attempted to open. What was really happening?

Then, last week, we found ourselves in Israel. So we stopped by.

We arrived in Tel Aviv last Wednesday to stay with friends. After a dip in the Mediterranean, we decided to drive down to nearby Jaffa.

If modern, high-rise Tel Aviv is one of the world's younger big cities, Jaffa is one of the world's oldest. The old Arab port city has been annexed in today's Tel Aviv-Yafo, but it still retains its distinct and antiquated nature. You cross into it, and immediately you are in another era. And not far down the main artery of Jerusalem Boulevard, you see it: the Alhambra.

The Alhambra Cinema building was constructed in 1936, under the British Mandate for Palestine, and for decades, in its Art Deco architecture and sheer size, it has remained a landmark of that period of history.

JaffaAlhambra2.jpg

By 2007, however, it was little more than a ruined hulk...


JaffaAlhambra2007.jpg

In September 2009, an Arab Muslim builder from Nazareth, Naif Salati, was contracted to restore the Alhambra to its former glory.

Salati was an interesting choice for the job. He's not only a skilled contractor, he's also a deeply religious man. As his Tel Aviv attorney Eitan Erez told me, Salati has 6 children, 17 grandchildren, and has been to Mecca on Hajj 13 times. "A Muslim is obliged to take the trip once in his lifetime. Mr. Salati is very dedicated," Erez told me.

He had also won a very lucrative job worth 13.5 million shekels (about $3.5 million) to renovate the Alhambra.

But from the beginning there was something strange about the man who had hired him, a local attorney named Gur Finkelstein.

According to the national land registry, Finkelstein had become the sole owner of the Alhambra. Finkelstein mentioned no other owners to Salati, and there was no reason for Salati to think that Finkelstein was not the building's landlord.

So Salati did not think it was too unusual, at first, that Finkelstein added an odd condition to the Alhambra's renovation contract. As Salati submitted bills for payment, Finkelstein asked him to add 25 percent to what he charged, for "expenses." And after he received his payments, Salati was instructed to return that 25 percent to Finkelstein, in cash.

It was a strange request, but again, Erez pointed out, it appeared to be Finkelstein's building and Finkelstein's money. So Salati kicked back the 25 percent as he worked on the building.

Then, on April 13, Salati was confronted with stunning news: Gur Finkelstein had been arrested at his office, and was charged with attempted murder and arson.

For the first time, Salati learned that Finkelstein did not in fact own the Alhambra. The attorney was only working for the Church of Scientology, who was in fact using Salati's renovation of the building to turn it into the newest of its "Ideal Orgs," a push for new facilities that is creating large, and largely empty, "orgs" for Scientology around the world.

By that time, April, Salati had already signed a second contract with Finkelstein, for an additional 5 million shekels ($1.3 million) to do additional work after fire had broken out in the Alhambra in both October 2010 and February 2011, destroying some of the work Salati had already done.

Now, Salati was confronted with stunning information: Israeli prosecutors believed Finkelstein himself had paid a gang to set fire to the Alhambra those two times. The motive? To create more work for Salati and keep the 25 percent kickback coming to Finkelstein.

Over the ensuing months, the extent of allegations against Finkelstein and his hired thugs grew to amazing proportions:

-- On May 9, 2010, a bomb fails to go off that is intended to kill a Tel Aviv municipal official, Shota Hovel, who had threatened to demolish part of the Alhambra when he found that an unpermitted 1,000-square-meter addition had been built on to the 7,000-square-meter theater.

-- Weeks later, on May 28, 2010, Hovel is attacked by two men dressed as police officers who hit his face with a stun gun. Hovel manages to fend them off and run away.

-- On September 8, 2010, a man in Haifa named Daniel Cohen, who is married to Finkelstein's ex-wife, is attacked by two men he does not know. He evades them and is unhurt.

-- On October 12, 2010, the Alhambra is set on fire for the first time.

-- On November 21, 2010, a car bomb attached to the bottom of Daniel Cohen's car goes off, injuring him and his 4-year-old daughter. Both recover from the assassination attempt.


FinkelsteinCarBlown.jpg
Daniel Cohen's car after the failed assassination attempt

-- In February, a second arson attempt is made on the Alhambra with a stolen truck and 300 liters of gasoline in a tank. It appears to be an attempt at major damage, but again fails to do significant damage.
 
The seemingly unrelated crimes -- arson attempts in Jaffa, a car bomb in Haifa some 60 miles away -- puzzled police, until they got a break.

They arrested a man whose name has not been released publicly (things work differently with the police and the press in Israel, which is in part why the full Finkelstein story has only gradually emerged since we first mentioned it in May).

The man was found in possession of explosive devices, and confessed to police who he had been working for as he helped set up the bombs in several attacks. He named an Arab Muslim family in Jaffa, the Bakher family.

This reportedly puzzled police even more. In Jaffa, the Bakher family was one of means, and had no criminal past. But when members of the family were arrested, they quickly pointed the finger at Finkelstein.

For police, Finkelstein's motives for the crime were clear: he had fought with Hovel over permitting on the Alhambra renovation, and the attorney has been indicted for trying to assassinate the city official. He set fire to the Alhambra twice, police believe, to keep Salati at work so he could continue to profit from his kickback scheme. And he attacked Daniel Cohen because Cohen was married to Finkelstein's ex-wife, who Finkelstein was battling in a custody case. In July, Finkelstein was rearrested in jail and charged with trying to order the assassination of the unnamed demolitions guy who had led police to the Bakhers and ultimately Finkelstein. So now he also faces charges of trying have a witness against him killed from jail.

Israeli TV has aired interviews with Finkelstein's family and friends who say he's the nicest guy in the world and would never harm a fly. His attorney, meanwhile, vows to prove Finkelstein's innocence in court.


GurFinkelsteinCourt.jpg
Gur Finkelstein, left, with his attorney (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

But regardless of Finkelstein's fate, there's still a building that Scientology has paid millions of shekels to renovate, and would still like to open. And there's an Arab Muslim builder who says that Scientology owes him millions more, and is trying to get his money, in part by foreclosing on the building.

As we said previously, on Wednesday, we stopped by for a look...


JaffaOrgFront.jpg

As you can see, Salati's work has been pretty magnificent. The doors facing Jerusalem Boulevard were closed, but we got up close and managed to snap a photo of Scientology's front desk area...


JaffaFrontDesk.jpg

A man inside appeared, and asked for names. He was provided with a couple. He gave his own name as Nadav as he opened the door and asked what we were interested in. We told him that we were curious to see the building that had been so much in the news, and wondered if 1) Scientology was now in business in Jaffa and 2) could we come in and look around?

Nadav told us that the building was not open to the public, and he could not give us a tour. He said we could walk around and look at the renovation of the building, if we were interested. So we thanked him and did just that.

Salati's work restoring the place is impressive. Not only does the structure look as if it had just been built, but ironwork in the windows is evocative. But the one thing that struck my traveling companion, who is from Tel Aviv, was the proliferation of cameras on the building. "You don't see that here. This is really, really unusual," I was told...


JaffaCamera.jpg

At the rear of the building, we heard activity. We found an open door, and a man came out, holding a walkie-talkie. He was Russian-Israeli, and he asked what we were doing there. (The word "security" immediately came to mind.) We asked him if the building was open, and he said it wasn't, which is why the front doors were closed. We thanked him, and then continued our tour of the outside.

We talked to some local vendors who worked near the building. They told us that people did come and go from the building, through the back door where we'd seen the security guard.

One pomegranate juice man told us Scientology was a "sect" and not really welcome in the neighborhood. Everyone we talked to was familiar with the story of Gur Finkelstein, the arsons, and the attempted murders.

To get a better angle for photos, we then crossed to the median strip in the middle of Jerusalem Boulevard. As we were taking pictures, Nadav and the Russian security man approached us, and this time their questions were more insistent. Who are you? Why are you taking pictures? While my companion, who spoke Hebrew, was answering, I angled my phone to take a photo of the two men, trying not to be too conspicuous about it.

Nadav immediately came over to me, however, and said in English "Delete that photo you took of me, please."

I smiled, but said no. He repeated his request.

I then pointed down at the ground at our feet.

"See that? It's public land."

He got the picture. "I see how it is," he said, and the two of them turned away.


JaffaSecurity.jpg
Nadav, right, and the Russian security guy

After our visit to the building, I made several unsuccessful attempts to reach local journalists who had written about Finkelstein and the Alhambra. On the last night of my visit, however, I got lucky.

Eitan Erez, attorney to Naif Salati, the builder, said he could meet me at a restaurant at the Tel Aviv port.


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Tel Aviv attorney Eitan Erez, on suing Scientology: "Nobody messes with us."

We went over the basics of the case, and what his client, Salati, had been through. But I had to ask him, now that he's suing the Church of Scientology for millions of shekels...

Does he really know what he's getting himself into?

Scientology has already filed a counterclaim against Salati, and has filed its own foreclosure petition on the building. As usual, Scientology is not going to take the easy option -- pay Salati for the work he claims has not been compensated -- and is instead going to play rough. I quickly outlined for Erez the kinds of legal shenanigans Scientology is known for around the world, and how in one case the church spent years -- and millions of dollars -- to keep from paying a court judgment.

But Erez just gave me a smile.

"Nobody messes with us," he said.

I have to say, if Scientology is going to pick a fight in Israel, they could have picked an easier target. Not only is Salati a sympathetic figure, his attorney, Erez, is a prominent local litigator and he's also vice president of the Israeli Bar Association.

But Scientology does appear loaded for bear. The church hired a prominent local attorney of its own, Yehuda Ravel, and didn't hesitate to pay 200,000 shekels (about $55,000) in order to file a counterclaim against Salati's lawsuit, and provided a guarantee against possible losses. That guarantee was signed by Neil Levin, with the legal affairs office of the Church of Scientology International in Los Angeles.

(Levin has another interesting distinction. He was -- and may still be -- the president of the Church of Scientology California, which was once the "mother church" until it was made largely dormant in a 1980s corporate reorganization. For years, Scientology fought the famous Wollersheim judgment, saying that CSC was broke, but then, in 2002, CSC suddenly coughed up nearly $9 million in cash in order to keep new information out of the court record that could have threatened Scientology's tax exempt status. I wrote about all this here at the Voice in 2008.)

In the meantime, while Salati and the church fight over money, Scientology also has a headache with local municipal officials who have not approved an occupancy permit that would allow Scientology to open for business. In Israel, Scientology does not have the status of a religion that it does here in the United States, and it may be facing an uphill battle to win over local officials. Also, if Scientology tends to lure in gullible middle-class and wealthy youngsters -- the sort that might be numerous in secular Tel Aviv -- opening an org in a working class Arab neighborhood like Jaffa seems an odd choice.

I told Erez that I planned to keep in touch with him as the lawsuits moved forward. It will be interesting to see if Scientology operates the way it has elsewhere. If it's anything like in the past, Salati will be pressured to drop his lawsuit, moves will be made to get Erez kicked off the case, the same will be aimed at judges, and the court will be flooded with paper. Something tells me, however, that Israeli courts might not be so clueless about Scientology, and won't tolerate what happens time and again in this country.

Or maybe that's just the country's charms talking. This was my first trip, and I did not just work on a Scientology story over there. From the mosaics of Caesaria, to the alleys of Acre, to the charms of Jerusalem, the mysteries of Masada, and a good soak in the Dead Sea, the place mesmerized me. I hope to be back soon, and you can bet I'll go by again to admire the work of Naif Salati on a Jaffa landmark, whoever the tenant happens to be.



The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] | [Commenters of the Week] [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
[Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach]
[Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
[Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine]
[Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]
[Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]
[Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]
[Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]
[Scientology High School, Dating and Super Powers!]


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112 comments
tel aviv apartment rentals
tel aviv apartment rentals

 its been a good implementation that they must provide and fight for the right of others especially to those who are able to get the justice they need to do 

apartments of tel aviv
apartments of tel aviv

people have lots of speculations unless it is not yet proven guilty its only the people who have so many doubts

Jgg
Jgg

  Think it takes Chutzpah to take on Salati and Erez?  In Rome, Co$ sued a group of nuns for defamation--not exactly a good place to sue nuns.

Jgg
Jgg

  Scientologists: when you drive by a car bombing, remember--it's not like anything else--you KNOW you are the only one who can do anything about it.

pdtchy
pdtchy

Very interesting article Tony.  However I do think that a few more questions need to be asked off Mr. Salati.  He is portrayed as a victim in this article and yet it is very clear that he was involved in aiding fraud with Finkelstein's 25% cashback for clearly ficticious expenses. I find it very strange that Salati apparently thought that Finkelstein's clearly shady "request" was "not too unusual". Get real. These 25% kickbacks were big enough to plot murders and arson for.  I am no fan of Scientology but I believe they have a stronger case than Mr. Salati. Please keep us informed about this strange story. Thanks. P

From article: "So Salati did not think it was too unusual, at first, that Finkelstein added an odd condition to the Alhambra's renovation contract. As Salati submitted bills for payment, Finkelstein asked him to add 25 percent to what he charged, for "expenses." And after he received his payments, Salati was instructed to return that 25 percent to Finkelstein, in cash.It was a strange request, but again, Erez pointed out, it appeared to be Finkelstein's building and Finkelstein's money. So Salati kicked back the 25 percent as he worked on the building."

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Tony, was wondering if scilon lawyers sent a Cease & Desist letter to SP Times? Maybe that's why the 3rd part hasn't been published yet.

I have a feeling the scilons are fighting this hard behind the scenes. This series is way more damaging than the last one.

scilonschools
scilonschools

Tony Ortega’s report  on the goings on with Scientology’s Israel interests bizarre as they are, leave two burning questions. 

  A)    What turned a number of people of previous good character (Gur Finkelstein and the Bakher family) from upright successful and sane people into apparently Psychotic Criminals, overnight? It seems a recent trend with those connected to the Corporate Church, sudden ‘changes’ in personality!!  B)     Why did Finkelstein (who is of Jewish family)try to frame the right wing end of the Jewish community with blowing up the new scientology org building and additional attempt on a senior Arab figure, when if successful there clearly would have been an Arab backlash against the Jewish community. The fact that the new Org building is in a mainly Arab suburb (A strange place to attract the local Jewish community!) may be a clue, creating a sympathetic bond between Arab community and the church of Scientology as being ‘victims together’It appears that the CoS is trying to recruit/infiltrate the Israeli Arab community. 

subsilentio
subsilentio

I assume Tony already knows this, but OSA has a "points system" they use to track unhandled threats.  The higher the point value of an SP, the more it counts against your stats for as long as it remains unhandled.

It is possible they considered Tony only a local threat.  However, he is almost certainly now considered a global threat.  Here's the point system:  http colon-slash-slash-www.suburbia...

There also seems to be a lag of about 6 to 12 months lately before they respond even to the largest threats.  You (and the VV) were certainly already on the global list, but this has kicked it up a notch.

I conjecture that there is probably a good strategy for any OSA target who finds the kitchen too hot.  Just stop for a few months, wait until they go on to their next enemy (they're in such desperate damage control mode they'll mark someone as handled and move on), then cycle back.  OSA is currently unable to handle any target permanently.

That's not directed at Tony necessarily, although the cult is going to be ramping up its anti-VV campaign heavily after this.

Great, great story.  This may be the freakiest thing I've ever seen the cult mixed up in, and that's saying something.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

And... as long as I have the Scion Choo-Choo steamed up and on the tracks....

Is it not a really "Clear" indicator of the Nature & Intention of a Group that goes around the world acquiring real estate under "Cover" names or using "Front Groups" .... 

Do Honest People do this??? .... No... of course not.

L.Ron Hubbard Jr. .... said it best ..... "Scientology is a Power, Intelligence, Money & Confidence Game."

Oh... and after Five Billion + Dollars and Four Decades .... who has CROSSED the Bridge?

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Nice Travel Story Tony,

In all my travels there are few peoples I have know who are as tough as Israelis... that goes for women as well as men... it is as though they have backbones of titanium and steely eyes that can see through the darkest nights... They are not like American Jews ...At All...

Even the thought of Scions moving in with their "Real Estate Rights" and "Freedom of Religion" and all the Sham and Smoke and Mirrors and Outrageous Lies...  that is their 'Stock & Trade' ... it will be some story indeed .... these people smell 'bullshit' two countries away!

But to be sure... Church of Scion is already enlisting their Influence in the Hollywood Jewish Community to Influence the Prime Minister of Israel to 'pave the road' for them.

I was just reflecting on Hubbard's Hitlerian/Stalinist policy orders and philosophy on 'Suppressive's' .... the totality of his creation is about creating slaves to serve him in the 'Now & Hereafter' ... and the ABSOLUTISM of his 'SUPPRESSIVE DOCTRINE' is the Central Component to achieving that goal or "Condition" .... 'The Church is ALWAYS Right! ... therefore.. anyone who goes against the decision or will of the church is SUPPRESSIVE!..

And as a sidebar... Hubbard writes that about 20% of the population is Suppressive... 

And from what VAST & DETAILED research did he derive this number???

From "Thin Air"..... he just made it up.... so much for Science..

Anyhowzit.... the present day Church of Latter Day Scions has really blown way past this number/percentage long ago.... for instance the FIVE MILLION PLUS Church members ... which we now know is FORTY THOUSAND OR LESS....   

Well... I guess those FOUR MILLION NINE HUNDRED & SIXTY THOUSAND ... just HAD to have been SUPPRESSIVE !!!

What OTHER EXPLANATION could there be?.... for not embracing the TRUTH according to SAU - RON .... 

Marcotai
Marcotai

So what?What actually is the point of this "investigative" (lol) report?I'm sure that you went to Israel to find a scoop on the new SCN building and that turned out to be "nothing" (what a waste of money) but still reporting it,  just makes rational people thinking:"So what?"  Were is the news? Were is the scoop?(lol)Tony, the only "scoop" in here is that this article has just shown your obsession at writing something negative, no matter what, about SCN, and that you just failed!"We talked to some local vendors who worked near the building. They told us that people did come and go from the building, through the back door where we'd seen the security guard."WOW!"I then pointed down at the ground at our feet. "See that? It's public land."WOW! what a hero. LOL

So....?

Vistaril
Vistaril

Scientologists need not worry about this. The actions in Israel are all perfectly in line with KSW and many other policies. Refer, for example, to HCOPL 29 OCTOBER 1959, Issue II, SERVICE, which states, in part, but with the full effect of Scripture:

". . . I don't care how many rules you break if they're broken to give unselfish service to one another and the public. We live for service not for rules . . . We are essentially an evolutionary group. All of us together. We must not fetter ourselves beyond increasing our own efficiency, nor must we entangle our purposes with arbitrary laws which do not further our cause . . ."

Thanks, L Ron Hubbard, for bringing Scientology service to Israel. We know how difficult it has been especially considering the enemies railed against you. As you said on 2 November 1969 at the Aides Conference aboard the Apollo:

" . . . You're here in this covert operation, we all of a sudden look up and we see that although the KGB and so forth seems to be associated with the World Federation of Mental Health, their other organization in action seems to go back to Jewish Bankers . . . "

mjm
mjm

Tony, have you contacted the Anti-Defamation League about this?

scilonschools
scilonschools

Tony, premier journalist on the Church and now International investigator!The church must have you near the top of their own top 25 rundown :)True star Sir!!And another disturbing story, wonder if Interpol are on the case as you are?!:)

Heather Grace
Heather Grace

It sounds like the church was a victim of Finkelstein too. I wonder how much, if anything, they knew about the building law violations.

Rodrigo
Rodrigo

this was pretty cool reading, good job and keep posting

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

Gur Finklestein is not a Scientologist and never was. We checked our IAS records and his name appears nowhere. What we did find is that Gur Finklestein is actually the Chief of all Israeli psychiatrists and that he had been posing as a Scientologist for a long time in order to give Scientology a bad name. When the deep cover psych spy Dr. Finklestein disovered that Scientology's natural integrity and honesty could not be besmirched in any way he became incensed.

This is when his mad dog crimes began. Finklestien made attacks in, I believe it is alleged,  Alhambra, Calfornia near a theater. Alhambra is a beautiful city as is nearby Arcadia and, to be clear, Scientology believes in the civic betterment of Alhambra and Aracida which is why we are asking for $50,000 in order to donate copies of The Way to Happiness to the many beauty colleges, bowling alleys, dive bars, and fast food restaurants for which these cities are famous.  

When he pulled in his own arrest, Finklestein screamed "Scientology" in public as a way to deflect blame from off himself.

Scientology is foreclosing on its Jaffa Ideal Org not because of any problems. The case is rather that Scientology needs 5X more square footage in Jaffa than previously planned. On any given day we receive at least 1,000 calls from people in the local area who are searching for the answers to life in the pages of Scientology books. To date, we have given out over 100,000,000 copies of The Way to Happiness in the Jewish language which I believe is Aramaic or something like that. Over 9000 Jewish rabbis in Jerusalem now include Scientology materials in their religious services in Israel and neighboring countries such as Guam, Japan, and Canada.

Please donate to your local Basics campaign today.

Please do not support Tony Ortega or the Village Voice as both are grossly out ethics.

Guest22
Guest22

You have a good point there. However, unfortunately, this is very often how it works in the onstruction business.  Often cash is paid, instead of cheques, so as not to pay the very high Israeli VAT of 17%. So while Salati is not innocent completely, he probably thought he was just helping Finkelstein go cheat the tax authorities, as opposed to cheat Scientology out of money.

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

It's looking more like the idea to dress up as ultra-orthodox Jews during various attacks in order to frame up a political angle to simple criminal activity may have been a notion of the Bakhers alone and not something Finkelstein put them up to. That's the indication I got from a pretty thorough Israeli TV show (translated for me from the Hebrew) and some other coverage. For that reason, I left that angle out here because it was a couple of steps removed from the building, the church, and Salati. But you're right, Scilon, that was a very bizarre element of the story when it first started to come out.

Sanddancer
Sanddancer

 Wait, we've got a story that involves assassination attempts, curious real estate dealings, complicated legal wranglings, arsons, and pretty much every other element of a classic film noir, and you're trying to downplay assault by scientology volunteers, and suspect activities going on in this building? I suggest you re-read this story again, because there's a lot more than just that.

Old Timer
Old Timer

By reading Mr. Ortega's piece of journalism I learned a lot of things I didn't know, Marcotai.

subsilentio
subsilentio

It took your owners this long to have you here squeaking?  Pathetic.

FLUNK!

SP  'Onage
SP 'Onage

Yeah, and your midget hero is the "son of a rapist."... and we can go on and on about his crimes.

WOW! What a hero. LOL!

Guest2
Guest2

Marcotai, We realise  that a few weeks ago that you've learnt a new word- LOL. But we'd really appreciate it if you'd stop using it non-stop. Try using different Internet abbreviations as well. For example you can use LMFAO or even ROFLMAO.  Occasionally you can even use hehe or hahaha. How is that? Why don't make it your New Year resolution to learn a new word every week? But for now - stfu.

Xenu
Xenu

You know it's hard times for OSA when the best people they can find to represent them are the likes of Gur Finkelstein and Marcotai.

Marcotai
Marcotai

"I have to say, if Scientology is going to pick a fight in Israel, they could have picked an easier target. Not only is Salati a sympathetic figure, his attorney, Erez, is a prominent local litigator and he's also vice president of the Israeli Bar Association."WOW!Of course you HAVE to say that. The truth of the matter is that Israeli Scientologists are not there to "pick up  targets", what a stupid statement is that? LOLI think that the only intention to say that to the attorney who is defending the guy who is asking money from the Church, it's actually what in SCN it's called 'third parties"!But honestly, that is one of the most idiotic "third parties" I ever seen.Tony, Tony, Tony...Why didn't you tell him that you are the editor of a gazzette that is making money by greatly contributing to child trafficking into prostitution?May be he would have given you a different answer.

ARCMarcotai

DuckBenway
DuckBenway

Please tell us how that clay demo of the Runnin' Scared Blog is going for you, Marcotai?

Are you making good progress? Do you have enough clay? I am so looking forward to your video of the construction project.

After you have completed the clay demo for the Runnin' Scared Blog, I think it would be wonderful if you made a clay demo of the whole Internet and posted a video of yourself making that!

Guest2
Guest2

What have they got to do with the story? I mean sure, Scientologists are wackoes, but they haven't done anything to defame the Jews. In fact, being the pragmatic whores they are, the Scientology cross is absent from the building in Jaffa [as you can] see and only the letter S sign with triangles is there. And they call themselves "The center of Scientology" in Israel, not "the Church of".

Xenu
Xenu

Every other time I've heard of (e.g., Sandy Springs, GA) where the building was enlarged beyond what was allowed, the CoS was behind it.  I'd imagine they were in this case, too.

Athena
Athena

Another of your scientology lies MUST be exposed. Finkelstein is NOT Chief of all Israeli Psychaitrists.  He was ordered by the court to undergo psychiatric evaluation.  That does not make him a psychiatrist,  duh.  The truth is, Finkestein iis a prominent Tel Aviv real estate lawyer.  These are the scientology lies talking, and not you.  Your own parents/caregivers taught you not to lie--follow their good moral teachings and you will feel a lot better about yourself.

Athena
Athena

How interesting that 100,000,000 copies of Way to Happiness were published in Aramaic.  That's wonderful since hardly anyone will be able to read it! The official spoken and written language of Israel is modern Hebrew, followed by English and Russian.  Yiddish is also widely spoken.  Also, interesting is the statement, an obvious lie, that Rabbis are including scientology in their religious services.  Othodox as well as Reformed Judiasm is based on the teachings of the Torah, an ancient document, and Rabbis have never nor will they ever including the teachings of a cult, or any other religion in their services--they will always remain faithful to the teachings of the Torah.  Your statement that 9000 Jewish rabbis in Jerusalem include scientology in their services is a lie based on a "made-up" number, a common strategy of scientology. Again, 0 rabbis in Jerusalem include scientology in their services.   Oh, and Guam, Japan, and Canada are not neighboring countries to Israel.  Clearly, all of those those expensive OT levels do not include any curriculum on 6th grade geography.   Or perhaps, you are yet another fine graduate of Applied Scholastics. 

sketto
sketto

Scientology's leader is out ethics, yet its members don't seem to care.

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

A lot of folks are "Out", you folks are just Trapped in the Closet.

"Dad? Tom Cruise won't come out of the closet!"

scilonschools
scilonschools

Tony you are undoubtedlyone of the greatest authorities on the Co$, but i wouldn't rule out the Bakher family being 'influenced' in their thoughts.Remember Rex Fowler, his bizzare murder of former employee and attempted suicide over a $10,000.00 severence cheque already issued?, That was all 'his idea', and nothing to do with the Church (right), The Co$ can manipulate people to do things and feel it was their own idea, additionally after the successful infiltration of the Nation of Islam i can see other possible motives.Hear what youn are saying Tony but I stand by my thoughts on that one. :)

LocalSP1
LocalSP1

They do do that don't they. Like the word apostate. They act like it's a derogatory word. I have pointed out to them many times, that if a person, believed in Christianity, Islam...ect, then switched to scientology, that would mean that scientology is made up of nothing but apostates. LOL. 

Marcotai
Marcotai

Thank you, that is a awesome advice. I think 'hehe' is much better. Or i will stick to 'hahaha" next time.LOL

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

Hey, face it—the ranks are getting really thin. And as they're spending all that time in the RPF these days, they're getting pretty rank too.

Marcotai
Marcotai

OSA?I bet that you are looking under your bed every night to find out if an "OSA agent" is hiding there. LOLLOL

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

" . . . But honestly, that is one of the most idiotic "third parties" I ever seen. . ."

I'll bet you don't get invited to many parties, do you?

It really doesn't get interesting 'til ya get to the fifth party anyway.

Guest2
Guest2

Welcome back Marcotai, we missed you. So can you please explain how a highly religious man, who has been the Mecca 13 times and his lawyer, are "the most idiotic third parties [you] ever seen." Elaborate on that point if you'd be so kind. Because I thought that a Jewish lawyer from Tel Aviv, representing his Muslim client from Nazareth was actually a wonderful example of different religions coming together against Scientology

Guest2
Guest2

Forgive my ignorance, but why on earth are Scientologists making clay demos of things? And a clay demo of Runnin' Scared would be a rather abstract work, right? I can't quite imagine what a clay demo "of lies" would look like.

Marcotai
Marcotai

Well...education and auditing in particular have to directed toward life, truth and ability.making  clay demos on lies, aberrations and negativity. doesn't improve a student's or a pc's freedom and ability.You should know that.

Guest22
Guest22

Athena - I think OTVIIIisGrr8! was speaking sarcastically. S/he is a known troll around Tony's blog and is always hilarious. But I'm not surprised you took his post seriously, as some of the things that Scientologists say sound just as crazy if not crazier.

Media_lush
Media_lush

I think Marcotai has been sticking his fingers up Mark's bum-hole and sniffing, too as he seems to suffering the same fetid odour induced delusions.

Clarkle
Clarkle

Marcotai is not a scientologist.  He's a troll, and a very bad one.

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

Nah—just put on the front porch lights. They scattered liked drugged possums.

Xenu
Xenu

Regular scientologists aren't allowed to read "entheta" like this.  That means you're either affiliated with OSA, working under their auspices to get out of lower conditions, or are simply a troll and not even a CoS scientologist.

Care to tell which it is?

Marcotai
Marcotai

Actually if you read more carefully what i wrote, you will see that the "third part" I was referring to, is Tony Ortega and not the guys you mentioned.Jeezzz....

Guest
Guest

It would be something laughable like a gingerbread man with a lasso coming out of his head, with a unhappy face at the end.  

And the time wasted making clay models of abstract concepts, as well as the time wasted looking up words like "the" again and again-  that wasted time helps to stunt the cognitive development of the poor scientology children. Most educators agree on this one.  

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

And if you aren't skilled at model making, you can always do what Marco does and eat the clay.

Guest
Guest

What a stupid statement. 

You would make a clay model of happy bunny but not a mean old crocodile?

I do agree, however, that clay models would be very useful in solving differential equations.  After all, Hubbard was a PhD physicist so he knew more about advanced mathematics than we see represented in the typical university setting.  He was so successful also in part due to his word-clearing!  He was an expert educator!

Guest2
Guest2

LOLz. The same thing happened to me in the past as well. The trolls are getting better and better, and scilons are getting crazier and crazier. It's hard to tell who is who anymore.

Athena
Athena

Oh gosh, is my face red!  I actually thought that a "real" scientologist was making these silly statements and preposterous lies, because I have seen it SO much in the past.  I took him/her literally and the joke's on me!   Thanks for the heads up, Guest2 and good job, troll! 

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