Fugitive Rabbi Accused of Sex Crimes Flees Netherlands to Avoid Extradition to Israel

Rabbi Eliezer Berland's extradition was authorized last week, but he failed to report to police.

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Rabbi Eliezer Berland. Suspected of committing sexual offenses, he’s currently in South Africa.
Rabbi Eliezer Berland. Suspected of committing sexual offenses, he’s currently in South Africa.Credit: Hadar Cohen
JTA
JTA

JTA - Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who has been accused of sexually assaulting several of his female followers, reportedly has fled the Netherlands to avoid extradition to Israel.

Berland, whose extradition was authorized last week by a Dutch court, failed to report to police on Tuesday, and Dutch prosecutors believe Berland may have fled to a country that does not have an extradition treaty with Israel.

Before being arrested last September in the Netherlands during a flight layover, Berland had lived in Morocco, Zimbabwe and Switzerland after fleeing Israel in 2012. The Breslov Hasid, who is called the “Sex Rabbi” in the Dutch media, had a large following in Israel, and several of his followers migrated to the Netherlands to live near their spiritual leader.

Berland has denied the allegations against him. He fought his extradition on the grounds that the alleged assaults happened in the West Bank and Israel does not have jurisdiction there.

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