Disgraced Rabbi Berland Gets Year and Half for Sexual Offenses

Berland, the leader of the Shuvu Banim Hasidic community, will also pay a fine to three of his victims as part of plea deal.

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

Disgraced rabbi Eliezer Berland was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in prison for sexual crimes he was convicted of last week as part of a plea deal which saw him admit his crimes for the first time.

The Hassidic rabbi will also pay a 25,000 shekel ($6,470) fine to three of his victims.

Berland, the leader of the Shuvu Banim Hasidic community, spent some three years on the run in multiple countries before being arrested in South Africa and extradited to Israel in July 2016.

The rabbi was convicted on Thursday on two counts of indecent acts and assault after confessing and signing a plea bargain.

Prior to fleeing Israel in 2013, Berland allegedly carried out sexual acts without consent on women and minors while abusing his position of trust.An original indictment filed against Berland after his extradition accused him of exploiting his standing within his community and the meetings he had with its members. Thursday’s conviction was based on a new indictment drafted after his confession.

As part of the plea deal, the new indictment dropped multiple counts of molestation.