Story-ideas-1011172

Rav Berland’s next stop: Israel

  • Berland in custody
Rabbi Eliezer Berland is in the hands of the Dutch authorities – who are being supported by the Israeli authorities – at Schipol Airport in Holland where he was intercepted on his way to Uman in Ukraine for the annual pilgrimage to the home of their Rebbe. The million dollar question everyone is asking, is how did he get out of SA? Also unknown is if the rebbetzen or any other followers or bodyguards were travelling with him. Stay tuned for the fast evolving developments…
by ANT KATZ | Sep 11, 2014

This morning Jewish Report first published the rumours of stories that Rabbi Eliezer Berland had skipped the country. It can’t be, said our police contacts, his passport is flagged.

  • A senior follower at the Rabbi’s Israeli Yeshiva, *Yossi, confirmed to Jewish Report at 12:17 that Rav Berland was, in fact, being held in Amsterdam. However, said Yossi, “they seem to just be questioning him for now, for they also have Internet access and see everything written about him, and want to verify the truth, we are hoping they will allow to continue to his final destination,” presumably Uman.
  • Haim Lev and Ari Soffer published a story on Israeli daily ARUTZ SHEVA this afternoon and Botho Molosankwe published on IOLboth at 13:30 SA time.
  • SAJR Online immediately began working it’s contact lists:
  • A senior SAPS official whose name we can’t quote as he is not authorised to speak to the media, confirmed that Rabbi Berland was, in fact, being held in Holland and that the authorities had no idea how he had managed to evade border controls;
  • Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramoloko said that the Hawks had been told that Rabbi Berland was in Holland. The Hawks were still trying to establish the veracity of the claims and would get back to us. However, Ramoloko reminded SAJR, the Hawks still have an active arrest warrant open against him;
  • A senior Israeli police contact who also can’t be quoted told Jewish Report that the Israeli authorities were alerted early and landed in Amsterdam at about the same time as Berland. “His (the rabbi’s) next stop will be in Israel,” said the contact confidently,

SEE ALL RELATED READS IN SA JEWISH REPORT

Read it here or on ARUTZ SHEVA:

After Two Years on the Run, Fugitive Rabbi Nabbed in Holland

Shuvu Bonim sect leader and suspected sex offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland caught at Amsterdam airport; faces extradition to Israel.

After two years on the run from Israeli authorities suspected sex offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland has reportedly been arrested in Amsterdam's international airport, and will soon be extradited back to Israel.

Berland, who founded and leads the Shuvu Bonim chassidic sect, was accused of sexually molesting several female followers in Israel but fled the country to escape investigation.

Some will be asking how the runaway rabbi managed to escape facing justice until now, but his network of loyal followers proved key both in hiding him and helping him give police the slip on numerous occasions.

Just last week Berland dodged police in Johannesburg, South Africa, by the skin of his teeth as he travelled to officiate at the wedding of one of his followers.

Police attempted to ambush the car he was travelling in, but the fugitive rabbi managed a dramatic escape.

"Our team tried to nab him. We had a mini-roadblock and as soon as he saw that, he jumped out of the car he was travelling in and into a BMW that was nearby," police spokesman Paul Ramoloko told the oilnews website. "The BMW climbed on the pavements and drove on them, hitting people’s trees and pot plants as they fled. We could not shoot at him because it is not how we wanted to operate this. We know that we will get him."

Berland had escaped police under similar circumstances just a month earlier.

Police attempted to nab him as he officiated at a previous wedding, but bumbled that arrest rather embarrassingly.

"This man surround himself with a group of about 12 people or more. They were all wearing black coats and looked the same. The way things were, we would have arrested the wrong person. We asked people we found there where he was and they said he was not there. It is not easy to arrest him but our guys don’t sleep - they are constantly looking for him," Ramoloko said.

In the end, however, it was Dutch police who caught Berland, who clearly realised it was only a matter of time before South African authorities honed in on him and was seeking a new base.

It was the final stop in a long game of cat-and-mouse across several continents for Berland.

After he was accused of committing indecent acts against several young female followers and learning that he was wanted for questioning Berland fled Israel before he could be arrested, absconding first to the US, and then moving on to Italy and Switzerland.

He eventually settled for a time in Marrakech, Morocco, before being forced out by the government. He then moved once again to Zimbabwe, from where he was allegedly deported earlier this year.

Berland and several of his hard-core followers then chose to settle in South Africa, much to the dismay of the local community, who were not particularly pleased to find a suspected sex-offender seeking refuge among them.

 

Read it here or on IOL:

‘Sex pest’ rabbi smuggled out of SA

Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who evaded police at a road block, has allegedly been smuggled out of the country.

Johannesburg - A fugitive Israeli rabbi wanted for sexual crimes in his country has allegedly fled South Africa days after evading the police once again in a roadblock.

The elderly Eliezer Berland of the Breslov Chasidic movement was allegedly smuggled out of the country on Wednesday night. It is believed that his next destination is Ukraine.

A former follower of Berland, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Star newspaper on Thursday morning: “His supporters only say he escaped from South Africa to a destination that is kept secret and that he wanted to visit soon the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Ukraine.”

Rabbi Nachman was the founder of the Breslov Chasidic movement.

It is believed Berland’s decision to fle, came after the police cornered him on Monday night. He escaped in a getaway car, ramping pavements and knocking over pot plants.

This was not the first time Berland had evaded the police. A few months ago, he was officiating at a wedding when the Hawks pounced.

 “This man surrounded himself with a group of about 12 people or more. They were all wearing black coats and looked the same. The way things were, we would have arrested the wrong person. We asked people there where he was and they said he was not there. It is not easy to arrest him, but our guys don’t sleep - they are constantly looking for him,” said the Hawk’s Paul Ramaloko.

On Wednesday the SA Jewish Board of Deputies said they were not aware of Berland’s near arrest.

National director of the board, Wendy Kahn, said: “From what we understand, he is a fugitive from Israeli law, where he is accused of sexual crimes. As law-abiding citizens of South Africa, we encourage him to turn himself over to the South African law enforcement authorities so that he can be returned to Israel to stand justice.”

On Thursday morning, Kahn reiterated that they were not aware of the rumours that he had been smuggled out of the country.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Berland was accused of sexual abuse by a number of his female followers, including a 15-year-old girl.

Berland arrived in South Africa in April with about 200 followers, sparking a protest by the Sandringham Jewish community.

During the Passover holiday this year, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein urged South African rabbis to take in some of Berland’s destitute followers, who were without food or shelter.

Goldstein, however, urged Berland to return to Israel immediately.

 

*Yossi – members of the Shuvu Bonim Breslov sect of Rav Berland only go by their first names

2 Comments

  1. 2 Samuel Shalom 14 Sep
    "Rabbi Eliezer Berland is in the hands of the Dutch authorities – who are being supported by the Israeli authorities – at Schipol Airport in Holland"
    VERSUS
    "where he was intercepted on his way to Uman in Ukraine for the annual pilgrimage to the home of their Rebbe."

    Aah yes, Holland, the Dutch, or The Netherlands as they like to be called, do you realize who they are? While Berland may not be a true "tzadik" ("saint") the folks in Holland/Netherlands are certainly NOT "tzadikim" ("saints") either!

    Consider this, all verified, and from articles on Wikipedia:

    * "Prostitution in the Netherlands is legal and regulated. Operating a brothel is also legal... De Wallen, the largest and best-known red-light district in Amsterdam, is a destination for international sex tourism...According to the International Encyclopedia of Sexuality, during the 1990s, some 10% of prostitutes worked on the streets, 30% in window prostitution, 30% in a sex clubs, 15% in an escort service, and 15% in their private residence. Drug addicts, including drug tourists, were said to be numerous in the street prostitution group..."

    * "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in the Netherlands have been some of the most progressive in Europe and worldwide...During the late 20th century, awareness surrounding homosexuality grew and society became more tolerant of homosexuals... After the country began granting same-sex couples domestic partnerships benefits in 1998, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001...The Netherlands has become one of the most socially liberal countries in the world, with recent polls indicating that more 90% of ethnic Dutch people view homosexuality as moral [sic]..."

    * ''The drug policy of the Netherlands...This has caused friction between the Netherlands and other countries about the policy for cannabis...drug tourism and certain strains of cannabis...Today, about 80% of the "coffee shops" sell, among their products, such kind of cannabis. While the legalization of cannabis remains controversial...Exactly how coffeeshops get their supplies is rarely investigated, however...Coffee shops are also technically illegal but are flourishing nonetheless. However, a policy of non-enforcement has led to a situation where reliance upon non-enforcement has become common, and because of this the courts have ruled against the government when individual cases were prosecuted. This is because the Dutch Ministry of Justice applies a gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy) with regard to the category "soft drugs": an official set of guidelines telling public prosecutors under which circumstances offenders should not be prosecuted..."

    * ''Consensual incest between adults is legal in the Netherlands."

    *''The age of consent in the Netherlands is 16, as specified by the Dutch Criminal Code."

    So let us understand this quite well, we now have a proudly decadent dinky country that permits and legalizes and lauds prostitution, has no restrictions whatsoever on any kind of homosexual behavior, allows incest between "consenting" family members, basically allows drug use and turns a blind eye to drug-taking violations, has an "age of consent" of sex at 16, is going to be the place that puts a chap like Berland who is accused of having sex or manipulating into sex with his groupies, this ultra-liberal amoral country is now going to be the judge of a screwed up guy like Berland? Talk of the big pot calling the little kettle black.

    Berland after all, according to the above report, supposedly wants to go to Uman in the Ukraine where all the Breslovers gather at the grave of their revered long-deceased Rebbe Reb Nachman. Why not grant him his religious rights and let him go to Uman in the Ukraine and maybe let the Ukrainians sit in judgement of him? Or maybe the Russians who now occupy part of Ukraine by force of arms, shooting civilians and shooting down civilian jets in the process of beating up the Ukrainians, could also sit in judgement of poor old Berland?

    Oh well, if he returns to Israel the authorities there will be very sorry because they will be making a martyr of this sick old man who should be getting mental help from psychiatrists because he is a basket case, and not treated as if he were some maniacal international gangster. Then again, who knows who and what Berland really is?

    One thing is for sure, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa and his cohorts in South Africa who have been in a sheer panic and tizzy over Berland's presence in their midst, as if he were a steroid-filled super fox among the cowering chickens, are surely breathing a massive palpable collective sigh of relief as one of the greatest rue rival to them to ever hit the shores of South Africa is now not their headache anymore. Tzeitchem LeShalom Reb Berland, they won't miss you! Good luck with the rest of your life!

    But yet, Berland and his Breslovers have surely left their indelible mark on South African Jewry for good or ill, however bizarrely they gave them a flavour of that true gritty Chasidic zeal and energy giving the "proper" South Africans a collective jarring jolt they never imagined they would get from so unlikely a source.

    Hopefully all the more righteous than thou preachings and pronouncements condemnations of the eccentric Berland will be more than just a heap pf worthless beans but instead be a case of practicing what they preach and not one of scapegoating to cover up the same failings in their very midst that they conveniently bury behind closed doors. As everyone knows, the Beth Din and the Chief Rabbi are experts at covering up and explaining away real scandals that they should treat the same ferocious unkind way they treated the hapless Berland who became the recipient of their wrath.

    Shanah Tova Umetukah to all!!
  2. 1 david 11 Nov
    @ Samuel -  so much forest Samuel and no trees in sight.
    Who are we to judge the Netherlands ? ? Have they done you any harm  and are they judging you ?

     I haven't felt any of the 'Chasidic Zeal and energy" for what it is worth. 

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