Israeli Minister Meets With Mayor Suspected of 1980s Murder, Kidnapping

The mayor is suspected of being associated with the so-called 'modesty patrol' of the cult-like Shuvu Banim Hasidic sect that Rabbi Eliezer Berland leads, which has been implicated in the killings

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Minister of the Interior Ayelet Shaked at a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in October.
Minister of the Interior Ayelet Shaked at a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in October.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and lawmaker Meir Porush met on Monday with an Israeli mayor suspected of involvement in the murder of Avraham Edri in 1990.

Shaked held the meeting in her Knesset office, and said it "dealt with municipal affairs and was scheduled two weeks ago." The meeting was held after a Supreme Court hearing regarding a gag order barring the publication of the mayor's name.

The mayor is suspected of being associated with the so-called "modesty patrol" of the cult-like Shuvu Banim Hasidic sect that Rabbi Eliezer Berland leads, which has been implicated in the killings.

He was released from a five-day house arrest on restrictive conditions yesterday after being in custody for two weeks on suspicion of "collaboration" by being present at the scene of the murder.

According to police, the strength of the suspicions against him are greater than that of the others involved.

The mayor, who was a minor at the time of the murder, denies the allegations against him.

The police believe that one of the main suspects in the murder is a man who died of COVID last month in Poriya Hospital in Tiberias.

Of the two cases connected to Shuvu Banim, the murders of Nissim Shitrit and Avraham Edri in 1986 and 1990, only Shitrit's has been solved, police said, though only Edri's body was found in Ramot Forest in Jerusalem.

The case was reopened last year following an investigative report by Shani Haziza of Kan Broadcasting television, who discovered that the background of Shitrit’s disappearance and Edri’s murder was their romantic involvement with women.

On Thursday, all the suspects in the affair were released to house arrest except for Berland, who was returned to prison to continue serving his sentence for financially exploiting his followers.

There are currently nine suspects in the two murders.

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