Shalom Life | May 23, 2015

Sean Penn Makes Appeal on Behalf of Haredi Businessman

Actor Comes Out in Support of Jacob Ostreicher

By: David Shear

Published: May 21st, 2013 in Culture » Society » News

Sean Penn Makes Appeal on Behalf of Haredi Businessman

The former Mr. Madonna, Sean Penn, is arguably one of the finest American actors working today.

But Penn, who played a hands-on role helping the victims of Haiti’s 7.0 magnitude 2010 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and killed an estimated 220,000 is also a well known and well respected social activist.

And Penn is back in the news for all the right reasons again these days as he has taken a personal interest in a decidedly Jewish story.

On May 20th, Penn personally attended a congressional hearing on behalf of an Orthodox man from Brooklyn currently being detained in Bolivia under house arrest.

The man in question in Jacob Ostreicher, a 54-year-old haredi father of five, had invested money in a rice-growing business in Bolivia and, while he was there recently to have a look at how his business venture was developing, he was arrested on suspicion of being involved with drug traffickers and money launderers.

And, despite any real evidence implicating Ostreicher, and the fact that 13 of his accusers are now in prison themselves, he’s already been held in Bolivia for more than two years.

Penn told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that Ostreicher is in danger because his Bolivian enemies want to kill him.

“I believe Jacob’s life is in danger as we sit here today,” the film star, an Oscar winner for “Dead Man Walking,” said.

During his address, Penn urged Congress to write letters of support for Ostreicher to sponsors of the Dakar Rally motorcycle race which, in 2014, will go through Bolivia. Penn also addressed the horrible living conditions the man has had to endure in prison, which he said: “receives a delivery of body bags to the front gate on a weekly basis and feeds it’s prisoners 18-cents worth of mulchy broth twice daily from a trough.”

“As an actor, I have been in good movies and bad ones. I have never seen a worse movie, nor more arch-villainy on such a caricturish or humanly diabolical level as I witnessed in that court room,” Penn said, referring to when Ostreicher was removed from prison and put under house arrest approximately five months ago.


WATCH: Lady Gaga Accepts ADL's Making a Difference Award WATCH: Lady Gaga Accepts ADL's Making a Difference Award TrendingNew Reality Show Recreates the Conditions of the Nazi Occupation New Reality Show Recreates the Conditions of the Nazi Occupation TrendingEverybody Who's Anybody Showed up at David Letterman's Last Show Everybody Who's Anybody Showed up at David Letterman's Last Show Trending
 

Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

'Golden Boy' Nadav Guedj hopes to live up to his name

Read More

Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

May 22, 2015 | By Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels
Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

18 out of 350 companies selected by leading American IT research firm Gartner are from the Holy Land

Read More

Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

Class that welcomed cannabis usage at Aspen Community Center in Colorado quickly nixed

Read More

Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

Country ranks #7 on the happiness index

Read More

Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

Yehuda Danzig of Toronto was stunned when he came across a pic of himself and his younger brother while reading The Times of Israel

Read More

Seven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot

May 22, 2015 | By Maayan Jaffe, JNS.org
Seven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot

Here are a few ways to infuse some meaning and minhag (tradition) into your Shavuot this year

Read More

WATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball"

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
WATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball"

"Play the ball, not the state," say soccer players of various ethnicities to FIFA in new video

Read More

Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

The U.S. President also spoke of the need a two-state solution on the inaugural "Solidarity Sabbath" in D.C.

Read More

More Headlines