Rabbi Eliezer Berland Charged With Sexual Abuse of Women and Minors

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.

3 replies
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    The Jerusalem District Attorney’s office today (Friday) filed an indictment in the city’s Magistrate Court against Rabbi Eliezer Berland on charges of indecent acts without consent, indecent acts towards a minor by exploiting a disciplinary and educational relationship, and aggravated sexual assault.

    In the indictment, Rabbi Berland is named as having served as the Rabbi and leader of the “Shuvu Banim” community and Yeshiva in Jerusalem, many of whose members were concentrated near his residences in Jerusalem and Beitar Ilit.

    As part of the obligations associated with his position, he held meetings for purposes of religious and spiritual guidance and instruction with male and female members of his community, and others, in his house and other places.

    The indictment states that Rabbi Berland took advantage of these meetings and his status on numerous occasions to commit sexual acts – without consent and while exploiting a disciplinary and educational relationship – with women and female minors.

    Following the exposure of some of his deeds by a man who had discovered them, the indictment says, Rabbi Berland ordered two of his followers to assault the man.

  2. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    רקליטות מחוז ירושלים הגישה היום (שישי) לבית משפט השלום בעיר כתב אישום נגד הרב אליעזר ברלנד בגין מעשים מגונים שלא בהסכמה, מעשים מגונים בקטין תוך ניצול יחסי תלות, מרות וחינוך וכן בגין תקיפה ופציעה בנסיבות מחמירות.

    על פי כתב האישום, הרב ברלנד עמד בראש הקהילה החסידית “שובו בנים” ובראש ישיבת “שובו בנים” בירושלים ושימש כרב ומנהיג הקהילה, אשר רבים מחבריה התרכזו סמוך למקומות מושבו בירושלים ובביתר עילית.

    במסגרת מעמדו, הוא קיבל בביתו ובמקומות אחרים את בני ובנות הקהילה ופונים אחרים, לפגישות אישיות שנועדו למתן הדרכה רוחנית, יעוץ בעניינים שונים או ברכה.

    מכתב האישום עולה כי לעיתים ניצל הנאשם את קיומן של פגישות אלה, ואת מעמדו בעיני קהילתו והפונים אליו, לביצוע מעשים מגונים – שלא בהסכמה או תוך ניצול יחסי תלות, מרות או חינוך – בנשים וקטינות.

    בהמשך נוכח חשיפה חלקית של מעשיו בקרב הקהילה הורה הנאשם לשניים מחסידיו לפגוע בחושף.

    כזכור, לאחרונה הושלם הליך הסגרה של הרב ברלנד מדרום אפריקה בהובלת משטרת ישראל, המחלקה הבינלאומית בפרקליטות המדינה ובסיוע גורמי משרד החוץ.

    הפרקליטות מבקשת לעצור את הרב ברלנד עד תום ההליכים המשפטיים נגדו.

  3. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Rabbi Eliezer Berland, one of the leaders of the Breslov Hasidic community in Israel, was indicted Friday on several counts of harassment and sexual abuse.

    The indictment, filed by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office in the capital’s Magistrates’ Court, includes counts of abuse of authority, indecent acts and assault against four women, one of them a minor, as well as aggravated assault against a man who threatened to expose the rabbi’s sexual misconduct.

    The investigation into Berland’s alleged misconduct was launched in 2012. He fled Israel in April 2013 and moved between the U.S., Morocco, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, and South Africa to avoid extradition to Israel. Berland was eventually arrested in Johannesburg earlier this year and extradited to Israel last week.

    The indictment claims that while Berland served as leader of the Shuvu Banim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, he molested four women.

    The first count alleged Berland had kissed and hugged a minor against her will during a counseling session.

    The second count says the rabbi had grabbed and groped a woman seeking spiritual guidance, despite her pushing him away. The prosecution said Berland “forced physical contact” on the woman, and even “offered to give her money to buy a car, so she could visit him.”

    The third count alleges Berland forcibly kissed a follower without her consent. The fourth count details how the rabbi grabbed one of the complainants, forcibly kissed her, groped her and tried to disrobe her.

    The rabbi is also accused of ordering two of his followers to assault a man who had exposed his actions and threatened to go to the authorities.

    The court granted the prosecution’s motion to remand Berland to police custody pending the conclusion of the legal proceedings in the case, as he was deemed a flight risk.

    Sara Markowitz, the complainants’ attorney, asked the prosecution to completely conceal her clients’ identity after a few of them had received threats for coming forward. The State Attorney’s Office granted the request, and the indictment does not include any identifying details, even excluding the initials of the women’s names.

    “Regardless of all the media attention, this case boils down to basic charges of indecent acts allegedly carried out five and nine years ago. We have no doubt these charges will be refuted soon,” Berland’s attorney Rachel Toren told reporters.

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