Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Jacob Ostreicher, Held Captive in Bolivia, Has Arrived in America

December 16, 2013 6:04 pm 12 comments

Jacob Ostreicher. Photo: Judea1/Wikimedia Commons.

Jacob Ostreicher, an Orthodox Jewish American held captive in Bolivia since June 2011 has made his way to the United States, The Algemeiner has confirmed.

A source familiar with efforts to have the businessman released confirmed that an “operation” took place Sunday night that resulted in Ostreicher’s return to his family.

In an email circulated to friends and supporters, his nephew Moshe confirmed the news as well.

“With happiness, we are informing the community of Israel that our dear uncle… has already left the iron curtain in Bolivia, and is now, with G-d’s great mercy, here in America,” Moshe wrote.

Jewish leaders, some of whom have actively campaigned for his release, reacted to the news Monday afternoon.

“With thanks to G-d, I am *thrilled* that Jacob Ostreicher is finally home in America!,” tweeted Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

Councilman David Greenfield said “American Jews are celebrating the news that Jacob Ostreicher, who was falsely imprisoned since June 2011 in Bolivia, is now back home in NY.”

Ostreicher was arrested in Santa Cruz, Bolivia while overseeing a rice growing venture he had invested in. He has never been formally charged, and has always maintained his innocence, calling allegations against him of money laundering and criminal organization “the scam of the century.”

In an interview with The Algemeiner last year Ostreicher’s wife, Miriam Ungar, said that the arrest may have been sparked by the success of her husband’s business enterprise.

“I believe that they [Bolivian government] got wind that this would be a successful business venture. He had 50 million pounds of rice harvested and when they found out… they said ‘what can we do about this?,'” she said at the time.

Last December Ostreicher was released on bail by the Bolivian government, but had been held since that time under house arrest.

A number of prominent officials campaigned for Ostreicher’s release, including New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).

12 Comments

  • Mark D. Williams

    The President Obama references are unnecessary. It is great that a US/Israeli citizen is back home, and apparently alright. That is the news and it is great news. None of us know what the government was doing on the behalf of Mr. Ostreicher since his incarceration. Whomever got this done had to deal with layers of “players/payees”. This take time (certainly not two years). Businesses chancing interactions within mafia-states (China, N. Korea….Bolivia?) need to be very careful.

  • I’ve been following Jacob’s ordeal and am very glad he made it back home. Thank you Jacob for staying strong and sorry my country let you down. Mike P. – Bolivians like Jews. Don’t be an ass!! They just get corrupted with money. You are right though. It is not a good place for tourism and foreign investment while Evo Morales surrounds himself with morons.

  • Why no mention of Sean Penn? He was instrumental in getting him released to house arrest, etc.

  • I’m so shocked, excited,ecstatic and beyond amazed. I’m literally in tears and about to throw up. I have been praying (with about a gazillion other people) but I thought it was all but over. I have been devastated…
    Talk about miraculous. This man wasn’t going to come back until he was fully exonerated in EVERYONE’S eyes. And yet, God has done this miracle.
    I should not be surprised one bit. I’ve seen God do miracles. Some things are coincidences, this is not. God can make whatever the heck He desires for whatever reasons He decides through whoEVER He decides.
    He is the one who chose to give Jacob freedom and grace and most of all an amazing chance at being reunited with his family for a while longer here on this earth. Thank you God. My heart is full.

  • Thanks be to G-d that this man has been able to get out of Bolivia. I think I’ll just avoid that country all together since they obviously don’t appreciate the help that someone investing in their country brings to them. I remember hearing Mr. Ostreicher’s little grandson asking for his “Zayde.” Praise the Lord that the captive has been freed, and he’s back home now enjoying family.

  • Age-old anti-Semitic government behavior: “hey, this Jewish guy made some money. Let’s steal it.”

    Guess what, Bolivia, I’m telling all of my friends never to do business in Bolivia and never to travel to Bolivia.

    I hope this costs you 100 times whatever you stole.

  • I understand that Chabad in Bolivia did the main work, but now everyone will jump on the band wagon to day that did it.

    • And perhaps with the financial backing of Satmar, but like usual no one will admit it. It’s about time to be honest!

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Obama will likely try to send him back.

    • That is a stupid, ignorant, and untrue statement. Grow up.

      • Whether the statement is true or not nobody would have even considered making such a statement against previous presidents who were ardent supporters of freedom, the democratic process and personal liberties. This president has cozied up to the vermin of the earth and has eroded out fundamental freedoms in this country. Even his own supporters know it its so blatant.

        • Ezra, I think you’re overlooking at least one POTUS by the name of FDR who refused to allow Jews trying to escape the Nazis to land in the US and later refused to order the destruction of the concentration camps like Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen because he didn’t consider it to be a priority of the war effort. Being elected President doesn’t automatically ensure one’s being brilliant nor compassionate, unfortunately.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    The Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, which started on Friday in New York City, features a mini-documentary about an elderly Jewish woman whose journey away from Orthodoxy leads her to taste forbidden food for the first time in her life. In Canadian director Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath, Razie Brownstone talks about ending her lifelong observance of keeping kosher as her 90th birthday approaches. The recently declared atheist said the discovery of the search engine Google spurred a lapse in her Jewish faith and made her decide to […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Food Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    A Chabad rabbi from Rhinebeck, NY, will face off a priest, a pastor and a nun-in-training in an upcoming episode of the Food Network‘s reality show, “Chopped,” Lubavitch.com reported. Rabbi Hanoch Hecht – who teaches up-and-coming chefs about the intricacies of kosher dietary laws at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) — was nominated for the show by a professional chef, and went through a rigorous interview process at the Food Network’s studios in Chelsea, NY. Months later, he was informed he had been accepted as a contestant in the popular TV cooking competition. “I thought […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (BOOK REVIEW)

    Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (BOOK REVIEW)

    Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief by Asaf Romirowsky & Alexander H. Joffe (Palgrave Macmillan; 2013) Although this book came out several years ago, it remains pertinent. This is a meticulously researched book that concentrates on a very small bit of history: the time period from 1948-50 when the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group, was organizing refugee relief in Gaza. Before UNRWA, the UN created the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees (UNRPR). It outsourced […]

    Read more →