Berland accuses Israel, SA of ‘illegal rendition’

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Updated: BREAKING NEWS:Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who heads the Shuvu Banim International Breslov Chassidic sect headquartered at his Jerusalem yeshiva, was expected to continue his application for bail in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday afternoon. Follow this breaking story as the events play out in both Pretoria and Randburg courts.

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However, in another bizarre twist so reminiscent of Berland’s ability to slip through the hands of authorities (he has evaded extradition to Israel to face sex-related charges eight times, on four continents over the past four years), the “rabbi-on-the-run” launched a “pre-emptive strike” in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday morning to have his arrest by the Hawks two weeks ago (pending extradition to Israel) deemed unlawful. 

The rabbi's attorney, Themba Langa, maintains Berland is not a criminal, but simply “at loggerheads with the [Israeli] government over ideological issues pertaining to the Palestinians”.

With a scheduled Wednesday afternoon court appearance on a bail hearing at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court, Rabbi Berland’s lawyers brought an urgent appeal before the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria Wednesday morning.

The full and complete text of the High Court papers Themba Langa filed on behalf of Rabbi Berland this morning in a PDF DOCUMENT for users’ convenience. Upload, print or send to your friends and family

Read about the DRAMATIC FIRST COURT APPEARANCE of Rabbi Berland last week with all the links to the back-story


In the appeal, Rabbi Berland asked the court to declare that the warrant of arrest issued against him by a Pretoria magistrate on February 18 was invalid and unlawful and that therefore his arrest and detention are unlawful. He demanded to be released by the South African police and South African government and that his passport be returned to him immediately.

In his affidavit, Rabbi Berland explained in detail why he believed the arrest warrant against him was unlawful and maintained Israel has “ulterior political motives” to have him extradited.

In a covering letter, sent to local journalists, Rabbi Berland’s attorney, Themba Langa, wrote: “The Rabbi is not a fugitive from justice; he is only at loggerheads with the [Israeli] government on ideological issues pertaining to the Palestinian issue. The rabbi’s institute is situated in a Palestinian neighbourhood.”

Langa added that he and his client had reason to believe that Rabbi Berland was the victim of “an [extraordinary] rendition” even though it was being “processed through the courts”.

Berland testified that it was clear from the documents attached to his affidavit that the warrant of arrest issued by a magistrate on February 18, 2016 was issued before the South African government had received an extradition request from Israel.

According to the papers in Rabbi Berland’s application, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) received an extradition request from Israel and on February 26, 2016 sent the request to the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

On February 29 this year, the DOJ sent the request to the Johannesburg office of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The DOJ made it clear to the NPA that the request for extradition has been submitted to the Minister of Justice.

Langa said: “The relief we seek is for the warrant to be set aside because a magistrate is not competent to issue a warrant of arrest on the basis of an opinion of a foreign government, without our Minister of Justice expressing his opinion on the matter. 

“On February 18, the Minister of Justice had not yet received the request for extradition but the magistrate had already issued a warrant of arrest, allegedly on the basis of information that he had received from the office of Interpol South Africa.

“When we requested Interpol South Africa to provide us with evidence that shows that they received the request from Interpol International or from the State of Israel, they failed to produce proof thereof. Therefore, it strongly appears that the magistrate was misled.”

Langa said it was clear to him that Interpol South Africa “used its own channels and not government channels”, to process the arrest warrant. The matter was especially suspicious, because Rabbi Berland, Langa claimed, “is not red-flagged by Interpol and is not on the Interpol wanted list”.

Berland said he has a diplomatic passport from the Republic of the Ivory Coast “due to my strong black Jewish following there. I have previously travelled to numerous countries in Africa teaching the Orthodox Jewish religion to mainly black Jews. In South Africa I am engaged in teaching black South African Jews.”

Berland testified that his main place of business remained Israel, “living in the town of Nablus which was [sic] a Palestine settlement in Israel”.

Berland added that he had been informed “by my followers in Holland [when he was arrested there] that the Israeli police would attempt to kidnap me to take me to Israel and that the charges against me were made up of false allegations. 

“According to them, the real reason for this was an assassination attempt on my life because of my past association with the Palestinians where I was staying in Nablus where I had Palestine (sic) followers.

“When the real reason became known to me why the Israeli government wanted me back, for my own safety I then fled that country and eventually arrived in the Republic of South Africa.”  


  1. 2 Choni 20 Apr
     In my opinion Rabbi Berland did not flee from Eretz Yisrael; he was vomited out. (punishment for [purported   ED] sexual sins)
  2. 1 Anthony Lange 05 May
    Thank You ED


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