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Rebbetzen Tehila Berland flies into Joburg

LATEST: R. Eliezer Berland was at “Next Door” last week Tuesday evening; his wife flew in from Israel on the Monday accompanied by his Zim follower Yaron Yamin; Yamim to meet SAJR on the Wed for interview & attempt to facilitauvu Banim Yeshiva; Berland’s in regular phone contact with followers at Yeshiva; and Yamim building Yeshiva compound in Zim
by ANT KATZ | May 07, 2014

SA Jewry continues to have the same story on their lips for a third consecutive week: Shuvu Banim Breslov Rav Eliezer Berland.

Numerous concerns have been expressed by both Jewish South Africans and Israelis living in South Africa. Some concerns have are based on facts, others on rumours and the unknown. 

Berland Tehila
Right: Rebbetzen
Tehila Berland


In this fast-moving saga, Jewish Report spoke to a cross-section of people in the know this week to try and put some of the unknown elements to rest. SAJR is able to report on a number of issues: 

  • Four callers last week advised SAJR Online that Rabbi Berland had been at “Next Door” Restaurant in Norwood last week Tuesday evening;
  • Rebbetzen Tehila Breslov flew into Johannesburg last week Monday morning to meet with her husband whom she has not seen for eight months;
  • Rabbi Eliezer Berland was seen in and around Glenhazel over the previouys weekend;
  • Yaron Yamin, Rav Berland’s close disciple from Zimbabwe, accompanied the Rebbetzen on the flight and spoke briefly to Jewish Report on that Monday;
  • Yamim promised to meet with SAJR last week and to try and facilitate an interview with the Berlands;
  • Jewish Report obtained another informative interview with Yossi, a senior follower of Berland’s at the Suvu Banim Yeshiva in Israel;
  • Rav Berland has been in contact with his followers at the Yeshiva regularly by telephone; and
  • Yamim is in the process of building a compound outside Bulawayo in the hope that Rav Berland will choose to settle there.

 

Followers destititute & don't have return tickets

Yet, while the Berlands’ reunification was the cause of much joy among their followers, who more than a week ago held a street party to celebrate, the fact is that “the followers who are left (in Johannesburg) see the Rev as their father. They don’t have return tickets or any money but will follow him anywhere,” says *Yossi.

Breslev SAJR graphicAnd the concerns being harboured among SA Jewry and Israelis living in SA seem to be as much about the arrival of Chassidim and their behaviour (which several sources tell Jewish Report risk giving Jews in general a bad name in the country) as they are about the controversy surrounding the Berland family themselves.

The 77-year-old Rav Berland’s wife, who is in her 80s and facing some serious charges back in Israel, was reportedly given her passport back for compassionate reasons to allow her to visit her husband.

But, a reliable source in Jerusalem who is close to the Breslovs and who asked not to be named, told Jewish Report that the status of the charges against her have not changed.

The same source said that all is not well at the Shubu Banim Yeshiva, “a split is emerging” he said. Members are divided between those who believe that Berland’s followers should remain close to him, and an increasingly large number who believe that by following Rav Berland around they are “drawing attention to the Rabbi, causing him trouble. All agree, though, that it is good that followers travel to be with Berland on Jewish holidays.

The Zim mining tycoon Yaron Yamin

After Pesach, Zimbabwean mining tycoon Yaron Yamin returned to Israel and began arranging for the Rebbetzen to get her passport returned, Yossi said last week Monday. He had met with Yamin on the Sunday.

Yamin has made a fortune from gold mines in Zimbabwe and owns his own jet, Yossi told SAJR. “I spoke to Yaron yesterday,” says Yossi, and Yamin told him that he was not sure if those who were following Rav Berland were still trying to find him. Asked who that was, Yossi said it was the Hawks.

Rabbi Eliezer Berland - HOME
LEFT: Rav. Berland, has
been seen in Johannesburg
for the past four days last week.



Yaron is building a yeshiva in Zimbabwe. “It’s more like a compound, with a mini-hotel complex – buildings for followers to sleep in, one to study in, a mikvah, etc,” says Yossi, but nobody knows if Berland plans to settle there. Yossi has seen pictures of the surrounding walls and says it is an imposing compound.

Yossi also says that “the Rabbi has been giving regular lessons over the phone while he was so-to-speak in hiding.” But he is not sure of his Rav’s whereabouts. “The few people who know where he is are not telling,” says Yossi.

Rumours and concerns abound

Asked if it there was any truth to the rumour that Rav Berland was expecting a number of his followers in Johannesburg who were coming out to be married by him on Lag B’Omer, Yossi said he knew of nobody within the Yeshiva who had any such plans. “He did two engagements while he was in Zimbabwe,” said Yossi, “but both women were in their 20s.”

While it is “true that there are students who would want to get married by the Rabbi – not only his followers – the Lag B’Omer plans were not something that any of Rav Berland’s followers know anything about.

Asked if it there was any truth to the rumour in Johannesburg that Rav Berland had married a 15-year-old girl and her husband, Yossi was adamant that in his many years with Rav. Berland, he had no knowledge that Berland had ever married anyone under 18 years old. Told that there is reportedly a married 16-year-old follower and her husband in Johannesburg with a one-year-old child, Yossi said that he was sure Berland had not married them. They might have become followers since they married, or been married by another Rabbi, said Yossi.

The Zimbabwe connection

Jewish Report hopes to meet with Yaron Yamin this week to establish his own personal journey with Rav Berland. Several almost identical stories have emerged but all have one thing in common: Yamin was down and out some 20 years ago and sought advice from Berland. This led to Yamin becoming a very wealthy miner outside Bulawayo. He has always given half of whatever he has earned to Berland’s sect.

Jewish Report spoke to Yamin last week Monday just after his arrival from Israel accompanying the Rebbetzen, and again on the Tuesday when Yaron agreed to meet immediately, but SAJR Online’s editor was unable to do so. An arrangement was made to meet last week Wednesday.

* Find more on these and other stories on Rav Berland and his followers on the Jewish Report website – www.sajr.co.za – where you will also see a new video of Berland and Yamin boarding an airplane out of Zimbabwe just before Pesach on the home page.

* Rav Berland’s followers all go by first names only. Yossi, whose bona fides Jewish Report has established previously, is a born-American named Michael, a senior follower of Berland and is based at the Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Follow the story on www.sajr.co.za

8 Comments

  1. 8 B 08 May
    they must ALL (WOMAN AND CHILDREN) be sent back or deported whichever comes first
  2. 7 Agadot Urbaniyot – Urban Legends 08 May
    B'Chadrei Charedim , 11 Sep 2013:
    Rebbetzin Tehilla Berland under house arrest • theft suspect
    http://www.bhol.co.il/article_en.aspx?id=59124
  3. 6 Agadot Urbaniyot – Urban Legends 11 May
    What does it take for a woman to accuse her rabbi of sexual harassment?

    It took some time for A. to realize she was being abused. Since then, her world collapsed.

    By Tamar Rotem | Haaretz | Mar. 22, 2013

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/what-does-it-take-for-a-woman-to-accuse-her-rabbi-of-sexual-harassment.premium-1.511303

    It took A. some time to realize she had been sexually harassed by Rabbi Eliezer Berland - a holy and righteous man in her eyes - and for her to file a police complaint. She is 18, married, her pretty face wrapped tightly in a black kerchief in the so-called Jerusalem fashion. She is going through a crisis, not only as a woman who was sexually harassed, but also as someone who was raised with a unique system of beliefs, at the center of which is the rabbi, the righteous foundation of the world.

    Since A. became disillusioned, her world has collapsed. She stopped working, and her life now revolves around both the court case and the rift in her community, which has shunned her since she submitted her complaint to the police.

    "I am the daughter of a veteran disciple of the rabbi," she says. "My father still believes in him. I think that if he were to cease believing, he would die from it. Today, now that I am outside, I understand that Shuvu Banim is a false Hasidic sect that is only after money. Everything the rabbi would do was very peculiar, not ordinary. He would yell, would travel around at night to tikkunim [sessions of 'spiritual repair'], and we'd follow after him.

    "My husband is a righteous one. Our vart [a Yiddish term for an occasion that proceeds a betrothal] was at the rabbi's. We waited there all night. My husband cried to the guards to let us in to see the rabbi, and only at 5 A.M. did we break a plate. I was pleased. It was a matter of pride between me and my girlfriends that I had a groom who would chase after the rabbi. After the sheva berakhot [the week of nightly meals and blessings after a wedding], my husband continued his pursuit of the rabbi. He would go to Hebron, Amuka [in the Galilee] - wherever the rabbi was, my husband would chase after him. Later I joined in too.

    "We thought we were demonstrating our devotion. For a year after our marriage, I did not have a single evening with my husband, because I was busy, in pursuit: We were the rabbi's minions. There was a group of women who pursued the rabbi. The rabbi would excite us, suddenly emerge from the car, do tikkun, and then get in and drive off. I worked from noon until 4 P.M., so that I would have time to sleep in a little in the morning, but many times I would telephone and say that I wasn't feeling well. So I also wasn't receiving a proper salary.

    "My father instilled in us at that the rabbi is the essence of spirituality at home. I began going to the rabbi too, because we'd heard you could get a blessing. Once we used to see him from afar, but now we realized that you could get in to see him without paying millions of shekels. We got excited, we started going to him at night.

    "The first time I went in to the rabbi, it was with another woman: He gave us a kiss on the forehead. Something gentle, a kiss from the righteous one. At the time I didn't think it was unusual, but from a kiss it developed into holding you, touching, licking. A lot of women don't believe the rabbi touched and kissed [others], because he didn't touch them. These are older Ashkenazi women.

    "If he had touched them, they would have done him in. So he did it to us, the innocent disciples. Like that, so we wouldn't feel it, his hands were constantly fluttering about. He would come close and do it quickly without your realizing, with three or four women in the room - caress this one, embrace that one. One day he told my husband, 'Your wife will have the privilege of being in the world of nobility' [a higher realm the soul belongs to, according to kabbala]. It was only afterward that we understood he was preparing him.

    "That time I had come with my husband to the rabbi as usual, and he said, 'You stay here and you come with me.' He locked me in his room and went out. When he entered he pointed to the bed. I don't remember what he said to me. He kissed me and stuck his tongue in my mouth. He held me real tight, my whole body, close to his, and he became dreadfully excited and panted. He told me, 'Now you are in the world of nobility,' and licked my face until it was really sticky. I was fighting with myself not to do anything. To this day I am traumatized by it.

    "After that he put his hands under my blouse and felt me up brusquely. And then he opened the door and I ran to my husband and told him excitedly that the rabbi said I was in the world of nobility. We began to fight, because my husband understood."

    'I miss kissing you'

    A. says Berland frequently preached sexual abstinence. "For nine months he told me and my husband not to touch. From the time we married, we were prushim [abstaining from sexual relations]. It killed us. Sometimes we would touch and then we'd say, 'The rabbi will be mad at us.' My husband and I would go in and I would ask the rabbi, 'When will we be blessed with children?' He would say, 'You are not touching each other? You will be visited.' We were naive. I thought I would have children just because the rabbi promised me we would be visited. But he kept on saying, 'Now go immerse yourself' [in a ritual bath], as though he was ensuring that I would be pure for him. In front of other people he would ask: 'When did you go to immerse yourself?' I whispered in his ear, and he would say in front of the others that I had gone. I would feel embarrassed. The rabbi would call all the time: I love you, miss you, miss kissing you. But he would mix this sort of talk with holy talk. And then all of a sudden he stopped calling me."
     
    A. came to her senses with the help of a veteran disciple of the Bratslav Hasidic sect. "The Hasid's daughter was a friend of mine," she explains. "She would go in to the rabbi every night, like me. After the incident occurred [the sexual harassment], her father told her he a secret scroll, which told of 18 women who were each tied to the righteous one [the rabbi] on a different side of the body and how each has a part in redemption. We came to her father and began talking to him about it. Suddenly he said, 'Enough, there is no secret scroll. The rabbi is despicable.' We were shocked. He called our husbands and told them. Only then did we understand what had happened, and everything blew up."

    The public suspicions regarding sexual harassment by Berland arose during the course of an a police investigation into a dispute and shooting within the Hasidic sect. The investigation concluded that the dispute broke out following an attempt to silence Itai Nachman Shalom, a disciple of Berland who witnessed him having sex with a woman from the community, and refused to keep quiet about it. Since the scandal's eruption a few months ago, the Shuvu Banim sect has been split between the rabbi's supporters and detractors.

    Berland, who is apparently in the United States now, knows he is under investigation for sexual harassment, and is represented by the Tel Aviv attorney Jacob Weinroth.

    Women from the community are now offering support to the ones who say they were harassed and are encouraging them to seek help. The women wish to remain anonymous because they fear the wrath of thugs within the sect. They explain that Berland took advantage of weak women by force of his charisma. They say both he and his disciples explained to the women that by means of their submission, they were "helping" the rabbi to battle the Iranian threat facing Israel, and to prevent a holocaust from being visited on its people. A lot of women were hurt but are for now keeping mum, they say.

    A Facebook page for victims of the rabbi's alleged abuse from the Hasidic sect, which was launched by a Haredi woman outside it, has seen a steadily growing number of subscribers. According to the woman who manages the page, several women have been in touch with her privately, and told her that they too had been sexually harassed. The descriptions are similar: "They came into the room to receive a blessing from the rabbi and it ended in lickings, roaming hands and statements such as, 'I am taking all offenses from you.'" She adds that several of the women say they subsequently received money from Berland, sums of $500-1,000, but are afraid to complain and are not willing to speak with the authorities about this.

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/what-does-it-take-for-a-woman-to-accuse-her-rabbi-of-sexual-harassment.premium-1.511303


  4. 5 Gavin 12 May
    "Zimbabwean mining tycoon" = somebody who is actively supporting a [Removed  -ED]!

    He should be ashamed !


    Thanks for talking the time to post your thoughts, Gavin. Unfortunately, if we allowed you to say what you said we could all end up in shtuk  for libel. Please also click through to our
    “LEGALS” page and select “Comment Guidelines” where you will note that we apply a more stringent set of rules of moderation for people who disclose their names and those who don’t. [email protected]

  5. 4 Agadot Urbaniyot – Urban Legends 13 May
    2 Israelis Arrested For Drug Smuggling Tied To Breslov Sect Led By Alleged Sex Criminal

    The two haredim recently arrested on drug smuggling charges in Spain are members of the Breslov hasidic Shuvu Banim sect – the same sect whose leader, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, fled Israel after being accused of sex crimes.

    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2014/05/2-hasidim-arrested-for-drug-smuggling-tied-to-breslov-sect-led-by-alleged-sex-criminal-234.html
  6. 3 Yossi 14 May
    This Agadot Urbaniyot finally made it to SAJR!

    Everyone - meet the person who is behind the whole plot to spread the libel against Rabbi Berland in order to stop him from teaching torah and inspiring Jews to become religious.

    He, known by his real name, but goes by many nicknames around the web, is the one who began the libel against Rabbi Berland and is the one who continues spreading it in every news outlet possible, by always referring back to his original masterpieces. 
    Those news articles he brought above are two of them.
      
    The "Facebook page for women who are victims" was created by him and his 5 cronies, who spend day and night discovering ways to make Rabbi Berlands life miserable. 
    They are the ones who started the false claims in Israel, continued them in Morocco and Zimbabwe, and now as you can all see are trying desperately to spread it to Johannesburg. 
    See here http://www.sajr.co.za/news-and-articles/2014/04/28/speaking-for-breslov-rabbi-eliezer-berland

    And take a look at Agadot Urbaniyot's website which reveals just how desperate he is to harm the Rabbi. An entire site is dedicated to it, with many hours working with Photoshop in order to create pictures that make the Rabbi look bad. Here is the site rabbi-eliezer-berland.blogspot.com it speaks for itself - everyone can clearly see from the pictures what kind of person we have here.

    He is the one who bribed the Government in Harare $100,000 to have the Rabbi deported, making sure to first get a picture of him in handcuffs, which he can spread all over the web, as you can see his website is very dedicated to do this. 

    After reading this comment he will undoubtedly change his nickname when posting future comments, as he does constantly in the Israeli sites. But there is no doubt that we won't give up on his fierce war against the Rabbi.

    I recommend anyone who reads Hebrew to look at this article just to see who this person is we are dealing with http://chasifathaemet.blogspot.co.il/ 


    Thanks, Yossi, for putting your version here. It is important that we continue to communicate with one another as the issues you have raised here were among those I had hoped to clarify with you prior to releasing comments and publishing stories.
    Regards, ANT KATZ, ONLINE EDITOR

     


     

     

  7. 2 Yossi 15 May
    Agadot Urbaniyot's website, with the same web address as Rabbi Berlands students official website only with dashes in between the words, is trying to take traffic away from Rabbi Berland's students official website, in another attempt to spread lies about the Rabbi.

    The official websites can be seen here in English http://rabbieliezerberland.blogspot.co.il/ and here http://tzaddikeliezer.blogspot.co.il/ in Hebrew.

    In my first interview with Anthony I told him that I have no doubt that soon after the interview is published, the same people that started the lies in the first place will work with all their might spreading it here.

    This is one of the reasons that we are advised not to speak to the media, it only makes the other side work harder, and people by nature are more inclined to believe the negative...

    Thanks, Yossi, for putting your version here. It is important that we continue to communicate with one another as the issues you have raised here were among those I had hoped to clarify with you prior to releasing comments and publishing stories.
    Regards, ANT KATZ, ONLINE EDITOR


  8. 1 Yossi 15 May
    Berland case drama • main witness was arrested on suspicion of extortion
    http://www.bhol.co.il/Article.aspx?id=54099&cat=18

    Shooting affair in Shuvu Banim: fifth suspect turned himself in
    http://www.bholworld.com/article.aspx?id=52470

    The person who goes by the name Agadot Urbaniyot "urban legends" and his friends are the ones who were arrested for attempted murder but he was let out after agreeing with police to become a State Witness against Rabbi Berland. Therefore days after being released he went on national television (seen here) and began the libel against Rabbi Berland. After being unsuccessful in finding a lady willing to accept a bribe in order to falsely testify, he used his own wife who testified on television with face blurred and voice muffled (in the above link you can hear her muffled voice beginning on minute 1:26). BUT, pictures were taken from behind the scenes clearly shows who we are dealing with. In this site http://chasifathaemet.blogspot.com/ you can see the picture (after the 5 pictures of the bullet holes in the door you can see a women sitting behind the anchorman in channel 2 television, this is the mans wife!) 

    After speaking with SAJR for the first time, I knew this person/people would be contacting them, that's one of the reasons I was hesitant to begin. I didn't want to begin a war which I know the more I try to defend the truth the harder they fight to uproot it. And I know they have more weapons in their arsenal, and I'm afraid that if I continue speaking the truth they will fight harder and cause more pain to the Rabbi. They have already tried physically harming him like was done to Rabbi Steinman SEE HERE and worse so that people like him did to Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira SEE HERE, G-D FORBID WE DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN, so please understand if I might choose to remain silent.

    For those of you who are so eager to offer insightful advice such as "If the Rabbi is innocent why doesn't he just go back, face the charges, and prove his innocence", I think that a slightly deeper understanding of the situation and who the people are who are fighting the Rabbi and what their agenda is, should already answer those questions. 

    So instead of causing more havoc to those who are already oppressed like our dear commenter number 1 so generously offered having everyone deported, you should be accepting these people with open arms, if there still remains any human decency in your hearts.

    The key witness in the case which stirs Shuvu Banim - was arrested on suspicion of extortion • with him four more suspects were arrested • community senior "it has been proven that a person should not rely on the dubious testimony" • detainee's associates "unnecessary detention"

    Eli Shlesinger and Yoel Koritz, B'Chadrei Charedim 17:25 02/05/2013
      שתף  

    Dramatic development in the case stirring the community of Shuvu Banim: key witness in the case, was arrested this morning (Wednesday), along with four other members of the community - on suspicion of extortion and threat of death, the Israeli police announced tonight. 

    Against the main witness in the case, was filed a few months ago indictment - including charges of carrying a weapon and shooting in urban area. This was followed after being beaten by two members of the community and he decided to revenge by shooting at their door. 

    Continuing of the investigation file - was arrested with four others this morning, on suspicion of extortion and conspiracy crime. 

    It is suspected they threatened a source close to one of the defendants in an attempt to blackmail him - accusations against conflict Warranty. Suspects will be taken tomorrow to extend their detention. 

    Since the case has been made public and witness was interviewed by the media, he moved away from the Shuvu Banim community. 

    Today community officials say this is a man that has been proven a criminal, and that one should not rely on the testimony: "There is no doubt that the arrest is indicative of what we said when the scandal broke out," says a senior of the community. 

    "This man is not stable and one that the police should not have relied on his testimony from the first stage." 

    He added: "Due to the criminal behavior he had an interest in blowing up a story that had no base, against Rabbi Berland to destroy the community. Now it has been proven by the Israeli police." 

    The official response of the suspect or his client has not been received. Sources close to him claim that the allegations have no base, and arguments about the Rabbi Berland affair are based. 
    On כ"ג Nissan, it was reported that Rabbi Berland is wanted for questioning in Israel, a few hours before the rabbi took off to Miami where he stayed for several days. Then he flew to Switzerland where he met with his attorney. Since Pesach the Rabbi is staying in Morocco. On Lag B'Omer nearly 100 followers huddled with him in a village near Marrakech. 

    So far it is not clear if the rabbi will return to Israel. But community leaders, who spoke to B'Chadrei Charedim, are hoping that the arrest of the witness will clear his name of their Rebbe. 

    "It's only a matter of time until things become clear, and all will understand nothing happened and everything was one big fantasy of shady people," they say.

    The key witness in the case which stirs Shuvu Banim - was arrested on suspicion of extortion • with him four more suspects were arrested • community senior "it has been proven that a person should not rely on the dubious testimony" • detainee's associates "unnecessary detention"

    Eli Shlesinger and Yoel Koritz, B'Chadrei Charedim 17:25 02/05/2013
      שתף  

    Dramatic development in the case stirring the community of Shuvu Banim: key witness in the case, was arrested this morning (Wednesday), along with four other members of the community - on suspicion of extortion and threat of death, the Israeli police announced tonight. 

    Against the main witness in the case, was filed a few months ago indictment - including charges of carrying a weapon and shooting in urban area. This was followed after being beaten by two members of the community and he decided to revenge by shooting at their door. 

    Continuing of the investigation file - was arrested with four others this morning, on suspicion of extortion and conspiracy crime. 

    It is suspected they threatened a source close to one of the defendants in an attempt to blackmail him - accusations against conflict Warranty. Suspects will be taken tomorrow to extend their detention. 

    Since the case has been made public and witness was interviewed by the media, he moved away from the Shuvu Banim community. 

    Today community officials say this is a man that has been proven a criminal, and that one should not rely on the testimony: "There is no doubt that the arrest is indicative of what we said when the scandal broke out," says a senior of the community. 

    "This man is not stable and one that the police should not have relied on his testimony from the first stage." 

    He added: "Due to the criminal behavior he had an interest in blowing up a story that had no base, against Rabbi Berland to destroy the community. Now it has been proven by the Israeli police." 

    The official response of the suspect or his client has not been received. Sources close to him claim that the allegations have no base, and arguments about the Rabbi Berland affair are based. 
    On כ"ג Nissan, it was reported that Rabbi Berland is wanted for questioning in Israel, a few hours before the rabbi took off to Miami where he stayed for several days. Then he flew to Switzerland where he met with his attorney. Since Pesach the Rabbi is staying in Morocco. On Lag B'Omer nearly 100 followers huddled with him in a village near Marrakech. 

    So far it is not clear if the rabbi will return to Israel. But community leaders, who spoke to B'Chadrei Charedim, are hoping that the arrest of the witness will clear his name of their Rebbe. 

    "It's only a matter of time until things become clear, and all will understand nothing happened and everything was one big fantasy of shady people," they say.

    The key witness in the case which stirs Shuvu Banim - was arrested on suspicion of extortion • with him four more suspects were arrested • community senior "it has been proven that a person should not rely on the dubious testimony" • detainee's associates "unnecessary detention"

    Eli Shlesinger and Yoel Koritz, B'Chadrei Charedim 17:25 02/05/2013
      שתף  

    Dramatic development in the case stirring the community of Shuvu Banim: key witness in the case, was arrested this morning (Wednesday), along with four other members of the community - on suspicion of extortion and threat of death, the Israeli police announced tonight. 

    Against the main witness in the case, was filed a few months ago indictment - including charges of carrying a weapon and shooting in urban area. This was followed after being beaten by two members of the community and he decided to revenge by shooting at their door. 

    Continuing of the investigation file - was arrested with four others this morning, on suspicion of extortion and conspiracy crime. 

    It is suspected they threatened a source close to one of the defendants in an attempt to blackmail him - accusations against conflict Warranty. Suspects will be taken tomorrow to extend their detention. 

    Since the case has been made public and witness was interviewed by the media, he moved away from the Shuvu Banim community. 

    Today community officials say this is a man that has been proven a criminal, and that one should not rely on the testimony: "There is no doubt that the arrest is indicative of what we said when the scandal broke out," says a senior of the community. 

    "This man is not stable and one that the police should not have relied on his testimony from the first stage." 

    He added: "Due to the criminal behavior he had an interest in blowing up a story that had no base, against Rabbi Berland to destroy the community. Now it has been proven by the Israeli police." 

    The official response of the suspect or his client has not been received. Sources close to him claim that the allegations have no base, and arguments about the Rabbi Berland affair are based. 
    On כ"ג Nissan, it was reported that Rabbi Berland is wanted for questioning in Israel, a few hours before the rabbi took off to Miami where he stayed for several days. Then he flew to Switzerland where he met with his attorney. Since Pesach the Rabbi is staying in Morocco. On Lag B'Omer nearly 100 followers huddled with him in a village near Marrakech. 

    So far it is not clear if the rabbi will return to Israel. But community leaders, who spoke to B'Chadrei Charedim, are hoping that the arrest of the witness will clear his name of their Rebbe. 

    "It's only a matter of time until things become clear, and all will understand nothing happened and everything was one big fantasy of shady people," they say.



    Thanks, Yossi, for putting your version here. It is important that we continue to communicate with one another as the issues you have raised here were among those I had hoped to clarify with you prior to releasing comments and publishing stories.
    Regards, ANT KATZ, ONLINE EDITOR
     


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