Rabbi Eliezer Berland Charged With Sexual Abuse of Women and Minors

Berland was extradited to Israel last week from South Africa, and has been under arrest since.

Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who is wanted for sex crimes in Israel, appears before the Randburg magistrate's court, South Africa, April 20, 2016.
Ilan Ossendryver, SA Jewish Report

Israeli prosecution charged Rabbi Eliezer Berland on Friday with indecent acts, indecent acts against a minor while abusing a position of trust and aggravated assault.

According to the indictment, filed by the Jerusalem District Prosecution, Berland, the leader of the Shuvu Banim Hasidic community, exploited his standing within his community and meetings he used to host with its members.

During meetings with his followers, Berland allegedly carried out sexual acts without their consent or while abusing his position of trust against women and minors.

After some of his actions were exposed within the community, Berland instructed two of his followers to attack the person who revealed the information, according to the indictment.

Berland, 79, is considered a holy man by his followers. He fled Israel in February 2013 after the police began investigating him. He was extradited to Israel last week from South Africa, and has been under arrest since.

Since his return to Israel and his arrest, his adherents have been demonstrating in support of Berland constantly outside the Ayalon Prison in Ramla where he is being held.