A property developer from Golders Green who has refused his estranged wife a get has been found guilty of stalking her.
Yossi Elkoubi was convicted at Willesden Magistrates Court last Friday of behaviour amounting to harassment of Rifka Meyer, to whom he was married in a religious but not a civil ceremony in 2009. They have been separated for two years.
A year ago, Ms Meyer was granted a court order restricting Mr Elkoubi from communicating with her, coming within 100 metres of her home in Edgware or entering the wig salon she runs in Golders Green.
But, while Mr Elkoubi had not breached the order, Ms Meyer told the court that a series of encounters with him between February and April this year had left her feeling intimidated and, on one occasion, “shaking like a leaf”.
In one incident, she said, he had driven along the road where she worked and “cynically waved at me, smirking”. In another, she was sitting in a car with his first wife, Hadassah Elkoubi, a driving instructor who was a close friend of hers, when Mr Elkoubi pulled up alongside them and “sat staring and staring”. It was “extremely intimidating”, Ms Meyer said. “He’s always there… I feel he is still trying to control me.”
Mrs Elkoubi, who also gave evidence, said: “I looked back a few seconds later and he was still there. I knew it was only a minute but it felt like a very long time.”
Ms Meyer said Mr Elkoubi had twice appeared in Kosher Kingdom supermarket where he knew she shopped on a Thursday evening. On the second occasion, she saw him talking to a friend, without a trolley or any shopping, standing with “the usual smirk”. This so angered her that she shouted in the shop: “Do you know that this person hasn’t given me a get?”
But Jonathan Goldberg QC, representing Mr Elkoubi, accused the two women of being as “thick as thieves” and making a “big deal” out of nothing.“You are using this court for revenge, as is your friend Hadassah,” he said.
“Absolutely not,” Ms Meyer responded.
Mr Elkoubi lives with his parents in Golders Green, has a partnership in a local clothes shop and prays at a nearby synagogue. He claimed the encounters with his wife were chance and he had not given a get because he still loved her and “I want to reconcile. My ex-wife has come between us”. He added: “I don’t smirk, I smile.”
He said he had shopped in Kosher Kingdom “two hundred to three hundred times” over the past year.
When he had spotted his ex-wife’s car in Golders Green, he said, he had gone to speak to her about one of their children but drove off when he had seen Ms Meyer there.
Teacher Avi Yodaiken, who had been talking to Mr Elkoubi in the supermarket said that, when Ms Meyer saw her husband, she made a cut-throat gesture.
A statement was also read out from Dayan Aharon Dovid Dunner whom Mr Elkoubi and Ms Meyer went to see last year. The dayan stated that, when she had left, she had told Mr Elkoubi, “The only way I will get a get from you is by killing you.”
Mr Elkoubi was found guilty and will be sentenced later this month. Mr Goldberg said his client would appeal.