R. Berland flees Holland, not hospitalised - reports

  • Rabbi Eliezer Berland HOME2
After Dutch Court rejects appeal & authorises extradition to Israel last Tuesday, Shuvu Bonim head allegedly went to hospital in Holland. He was ordered to turn himself in to Dutch police on Monday 6 July but, it seems, R. Berland (pic) had, in fact, slipped away & fled to an undisclosed country which has no extradition treaty with Israel. He has evaded deportation for almost 3 years, twice by the Hawks in SA. Read about the Rabbi-on-the-run's spurious claims in his appeal, which held no sway with the Dutch court.
by ANT KATZ | Jul 07, 2015

On the run again?

International news service Agence France-Presse (AFP) were the first to break the news last Tuesday: “Dutch court okays extradition to Israel of rabbi suspected of sex crimes” read the AFP headline.

The Dutch Supreme Court had, on Tuesday 30 June, authorised the extradition of R. Berland (actually, they overturned his objection to their earlier decision) who is wanted in Israel for alleged indecent assault of women and girls.

Rabbi Eliezer Berland - preferred picDutch police originally arrested Berland, 78, at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in September 2014, after he evaded the Hawks who tried to arrest him twice and then slipped through OR Tambo airport security en route to Ukraine via Holland. He had, however, been freed on bail pending a ruling on his extradition.

RIGHT: Rabbi Eliezer Berland in Jerusalem - picture provided by Shuvu Bonim

The rabbi fled Israel almost three years ago and evaded capture in Miami, Switzerland, Morocco, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Spurious reasons for appeal

JTA reported that one of Berland’s reasons for opposing his extradition was on the grounds that the alleged assaults happened in the West Bank and that Israel does not have jurisdiction there. His Yeshiva, where the alleged assaults happened, lay over the 1949 Armistice lines (east Jerusalem) and that Israel therefore had no jurisdiction.

Quoting AFP, ARUTZ SHEVA (Israel National News) said that the extradition process has been dragged out over recent months, as Berland was hospitalised in January for heart-related illness. “The rabbi has opposed his extradition,” said Arutz Sheva, as “he was not an Israeli citizen”.

The JERUSALEM POST said that Berland had told a Dutch newspaper in January that he was a Holocaust survivor. “Official biographies make no mention of this,” wrote the newspaper.

Several dozen of Berland’s followers from Israel followed him around the world, including his three months in Zimbabwe and over four in South Africa. They finally settled in the Netherlands to be near their spiritual leader, whom Dutch media have taken to calling the “sex rabbi.”

Zimbabwe’s Chronicle newspaper reported that Berland, whom it described as a “mega-rich cleric,” had flown into the country on the private jet of a supporter, Yaron Yamin, and was living in one of the country’s more expensive hotels together with “dozens” of followers. He was questioned by local police before being forced out.

When the group arrived in South Africa after Berland’s deportation from Zimbabwe, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein sent an email, Don’t shelter Berlandto his colleagues throughout the country, warning them not to provide any assistance to the group.

“Our community [must] not be involved with sheltering or supporting Berland and his followers,” Goldstein warned.

Things became murky over weekend

A religious media source claimed last week after the ruling that “Rabbi Eliezer Berland has been hospitalized in Holland. Rabbi Berland, 78, lost his appeal to the Supreme Court in Holland, which announced this week he will be turned over to Israeli authorities in line with an extradition request from Israel Police.

Berland - JTAThe rabbi’s defence attorney explained that the implementation of the verdict will be delayed for a number of weeks, permitting him to possibly appeal the ruling to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.”

LEFT: Rabbi Eliezer Berland in Holland - Picture JTA

On Friday 3 July, the same religious media source claimed reports that “there are also rumours that the rav’s condition is serious, calling on chassidim and others to recite Tehillim on his behalf.”

On Sunday 5 July, the same source reported that there were rumours that R. Berland had absconded and that “it is now reported the rav has indeed fled Holland.” They said that Berland’s followers “were instructed to leave the country and return to Israel.”

On Monday an official announcement was made by the Dutch prosecutor informing the media that “We are currently not in touch with the rabbi and we are checking as to his whereabouts. The rabbi must contact police by tomorrow, Tuesday. By then we will know if he has fled or not.”

  • Meanwhile, JTA reports that another prominent Israeli rabbi was arrested by police while trying to leave the country amid accusations that he committed rape and other sex crimes. The rabbi was arrested Thursday based on a complaint to police by a woman who claimed that he raped her several years ago, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. According to JTA, the rabbi was on his way to Brazil.

Follow the story on SAJR.co.za

1 Comment

  1. 1 Denis Solomons 10 Jul
    Berland is like the  "scarlet pimpernel " of the Jewish world . Fleeing here, settling there and then evading the police/law.
    Quite an amazing individual !


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