Rabbi Berland, Convicted of Sexual Assault, to Get Early Release

Sharon Pulwer
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Rabbi Eliezer Berland in court, August 11, 2016.
Rabbi Eliezer Berland in court, August 11, 2016.Credit: Ilan Ossendryver/SA Jewish Report
Sharon Pulwer

Israel’s parole board ordered the early release on Monday of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who was convicted of sexual assault last November.

Due to the opposition of the State Prosecutor’s Office, which is expected to appeal the shortening of Berland’s sentence from 18 months to a year, implementation of the decision has been postponed.

According to the board’s decision, Berland will be released to a hotel room in the Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, where he will be held under house arrest and with a full guard.

Berland himself will bear the costs incurred from his hospital stay and guard detail. In addition, as long as he is considered a released prisoner by permission, he will have to meet the conditions of his rehabilitation program and attend follow-up discussions with the parole board.

Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court sentenced Berland to 18 months last November, after he was convicted – in a plea bargain – of committing two indecent acts and a sexual assault. He fled Israel in 2013 when he was wanted for questioning, but was extradited from South Africa last July.

Berland headed the Shuvu Banim Hasidic community and Shuvu Banim yeshiva in Jerusalem, and served as the rabbi and leader of the community, based mainly in Jerusalem and Betar Ilit.

In his home and other places, he received members of his community and other petitioners for personal meetings, in order to give spiritual guidance, advice on various matters or a blessing.