Eliezer Berland, formerly rabbi and dean of the Shuvu Banim yeshiva who was convicted of sexual offenses, sent to prison, and released to house arrest because of his health, has expressed remorse for his actions.
“I take responsibility for what happened, I am willing to accept any punishment in the world, including burning me and stoning me because that is Torah law. The punishment that was meted to me was perhaps too light, and I am willing to accept a greater punishment,” Berland said in an interview with Channel 10 television.
“In every hearing that took place, I told the judge that I wanted to be brought to trial. I want to take the opportunity to ask forgiveness from the complainants,” he said.
Referring to the suspicion that his followers may attack the complainants, he said “I have said many times that it is forbidden to harm them and that their grief must be respected, and I am ready to go back to jail today.”
At the beginning of last month, the parole board headed by retired judge Shlomo Isaacson decided that Berland’s sentence would be reduced by a third. However, his release will not be to his home, but directly to an hotel adjacent to Hadassah Hospital.
“The security company ‘Team 5’ will act in accordance with the outline specified in the document submitted to the parole board on April 2, 2017. The prisoner will bear all expenses involved in his hotel stay and funding the security staff,” the release decision stated.
In addition, it was stated that Berland’s stay in the hotel will comprise absolute house arrest conditions. “Any request by the prisoner to change conditions of his stay in the hotel requires release committee approval”, said the decision.
Last October, a plea bargain was signed between the State Attorney’s Office and Berland. Following the plea bargain, Berland admitted committing indecent acts against two women, but other charges pending against him were expunged. The detention period Berland served in Israel and abroad was deducted from the prison sentence.