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Hawks nab 'elusive Pimpernel' Rabbi Berland

  • Berland 16 HOME
The elite priority crime division of the SA Police, The Hawks, have confirmed that they arrested the 78-year-old Rabbi Eliezer Berland in Sunninghill in northern Johannesburg on Thursday. The Hawks refused to say where he was arrested or how they had found the elusive rav-on-the-run - but he will remain in custody and appear in court next Thursday. Jewish Report Online was first with the news yesterday. It had quickly been taken up by most Jewish and Israeli daily media today.
by An ANT KATZ Exclusive! | Apr 08, 2016

Hawks spokesman Major Robert Netshiunda confirmed to Jewish Report Online this morning that, after being formally charged and detained in a police station, the sickly rabbi-on-the-run, Rabbi Eliezer Berland was transferred to a hospital where he remains in custody and under police guard.

The Hawks have tried three times unsuccessfully to arrest the rabbi over the past two years. He has been on the run from Israel -  where he is to face charges of a sexual nature - since 2012 and from Interpol since 2015. 

Berland 16 HOME1Berland is the leader of the  Shuvu Banim International Breslov Chassidic movement based at his yeshiva in Jerusalem. He went on the run when his female followers in Israel claimed that he had sexually harassed or raped them.


RIGHT: Rav Berland and some of his hundreds of followers at The MIdrand Protea Hotel where thay have been holed up for over six months

Several callers have told Jewish Report that Berland was in a private hospital in Sandton, but Netshiunda insists that Berland is in a Pretoria hospital and that the police will not disclose which hospital it is. It seems that he was first taken to one hospital - and, once the police established it was not going to be for a short stay, they moved him to another. The police do not deny this, but will not comment further.

Major Robert Netshiunda said today that Berland, considered by thousands of his followers as one of the Tzadikim of our time, would remain in custody until Thursday, April 14  when he will appear in a magistrates court (the whereabouts of which police would not disclose today).

When asked what the charges against Rabbi Berland will be, Hawks spokesman Netshiunda answered: “Four counts of sexual assault in Israel.”

When asked if this was not to be an extradition hearing, and whether the South African authorities were considering trying Berland in this country on these charges despite the arrest having been conducted under Interpol red ticket requests for his extradition, Netshiunda said that this would be a matter “for the court to decide”.


JR Online - first with news on Berland

SA Jewish Report has consistently been first with the news on the  Berland saga. The rabbi’s arrest yesterday was first reported on our website. See our story REPORTS SUGGEST BERLAND NABBED which was updated through the afternoon and gives links back to literally hundreds of posts over the past three years.

Subsequent to SAJR BREAKING THE STORY, reports have appeared in, among others:


Breslov - FULL Crowds attend lectures of Rabbi Berland in Jerusalem2

ABOVE: Rabbi Eliezer Berland addressing a gathering of followers in Holland last year while on bail there, awaiting an extradition hearing



berland 16 FULL
Above - Rabbi Berland in Johannesburg in January this year

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