ARRESTED: Cult-Leader Rabbi Berland And Family Taken Into Custody; Followers Lay On Road In Front Of Police Car [VIDEOS]

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Israel Police raided the Shuva Banim community in Jerusalem early Sunday morning and arrested Rabbi Eliezer Berland and his wife and five other senior figures in the cult-like community on charges of alleged exploitation of sick people and their families as well as money laundering and tax evasion of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The police raided the Shuvu Bunim shul about 5 a.m. and brought Rabbi Berland to his home where they carried out a thorough search with the assistance of dog handlers and then arrested him.

While Berland was being taken to the police car, his followers began rioting and throwing rocks and stones at the policemen, wounding two of them. One of his followers can be heard shouting repeatedly “Harav, kill them! Harav, kill them!” – apparently believing that Berland had the power to kill the policemen through spiritual forces if he wished to. The police were forced to use stun grenades to control the crowd.

As police led Berland to the police vehicle, other policemen surrounded the car to keep his followers from reaching it. Some followers tried to lie down in front of the car, apparently being willing to lay down their life for Berland, and police were forced to pull them out of the way.

On Sunday afternoon, Berland was brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for a hearing and his arrest was extended for five days.

During the hearing, it was clarified that the investigation, which began months ago is ongoing but when the police completed the undercover part of the investigation, they issued an arrest warrant.

Berland claimed during his initial interrogation with the police on Sunday that he only receives “pidyonos” for brachos from people who request it and he accepts only small amounts of money.

The police requested that the court extend Rabbi Berland’s arrest due to suspicion that he may obstruct legal proceedings and may also flee the country like he did in 2012 when allegations against him by multiple women became public.

The judge agreed to extend Rabbi Berland’s arrest. Following the judge’s decision Rabbi Berland was taken to the hospital to undergo medical examinations.

The investigation against the cult was conducted by a special investigative team of the Jerusalem District Police. “Over the last few months, Israel Police have conducted an undercover investigation for suspected crimes of exploitation, fraud and serious tax offenses which are suspected to have been carried out over a number of years by the suspects,” Israel Police stated on Sunday.

According to B’Chadrei Chareidim, one of the complaints filed with the police stated that after Berland had promised the family of a clinically dead man that he will be healed, the family gave him a large sum of money. When the promise failed to be fulfilled, the family sought their money back and Berland responded that the family should give him more money and their relative will be healed. After the patient died, the family against sought their money and Berland told them to give him additional money so their relative will be the first one to arise during techiyas ha’meisim. Multiple people in need of yeshuos were exploited in a similar manner.

“As the investigation progressed, the investigators succeeded in unraveling the suspects’ pattern of actions, which is suspected to have been conducted through a hierarchical system, in which each suspect had a defined role, with everything done under the tutelage and name of the main suspect – in his 80s.”

Police noted that the investigation focused on two areas – the first was criminal offenses, of which evidence and testimonies were gathered against the suspects of receiving tens of thousands of shekels for brachos and promises of healing and other yeshuos. The second was financial crimes, with police investigators uncovering multiple alleged offenses against the suspects, including money laundering, tax evasion and other tax offenses adding up to hundreds of millions of shekels.

In the past, Rabbi Berland was released from house arrest just before Rosh Hashana two years ago, the result of a conviction for assault. Berland pleaded guilty to his actions against multiple victims. he had first fled Israel and traveled from country to country, thus avoiding extradition to Israel, where a warrant for his arrest had been issued. He spent time in the United States, Italy, Switzerland, Morocco, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Johannesburg before being arrested and extradited to Israel where he faced the law.

His followers claim that Berland willingly took upon himself this disgrace, suffering, and exile, “which spiritually protects the Jewish People from heavenly decrees of annihilation”. It should be noted that audio footage was released where Berland was talking to his attorney about the details of one of his assaults.

Despite the charges and the guilty plea, he continues to be a celebrity-rabbi, as thousands of thousands of people flock to him.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




32 COMMENTS

  1. “hundreds of millions of dollars”. Wow! If this is actually in the charge, then they must have pretty decent records/evidence. It’s a crazy large amount of money to have, even for a larger chassidus, let alone this relatively small group.

  2. YWN – you’re willing to call our Berland for selling so-called “Yeshuos”, but accept advertisments from other less-well-known chaletans whor offer the same fake service. How can you justify enticing desperate people to part with their hard-earned money for such snake oil? A bit of consistency is in order.

    an Israeli Yid

  3. The matzav of Klal Yisroel has deteriorated where kedusha is being used as a tool to commit some of the most serious offenses. The concept of a tzaddik or chochom davening for someone, particularly a choleh is well known, and its origins are in Shas (plus the posuk where Moshe Rabbeinu davens for his sister Miriam when she had tzoraas). We now observe such tefilos being marketed by organizations as a fund raiser, and by some who wish to brand themselves as miracle workers, selling their brachos. This is a severe and extreme form of decadence.

    Berland, who seems to have once been an individual of true stature, has entered this world of greed and exploitation. The yetzer horah doesn’t rest. I would hope that the Klal pay attention to the consequences of behaving in this manner. We need to get our values straight. The circus of hero worship is a disgrace to the chassidishe world as well as the yeshiva world when they embrace it. There are gedolei Torah and tzaddikim. They don’t advertise, they don’t sell their kishronos to high bidders, and they do not seek kavod. Nor do they run and hide behind Torah while violating the Torah.

  4. Such a finah yid; we need to find an appropriate way to test his tzidkis. i suggest the use of a kupah, built to hazal’s specifications. put him in and if in ten days lept er noch, let him out.

  5. Oiy, what a mess! A man believes himself to be the biggest tzadik, and attracts a groups of near thugs to support him. Oiy, what has happened to us????

  6. I am just wondering:
    I thought we are fed up with the fake news already.
    In the beginning of the article it says hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Later in the same article it says hundreds of millions of Shekels.

    Isn’t the Shekel 4.4 to the dollar?

  7. If the police had run over the idiots in the road, all they would have had to do is pay a few thousand shekels to the good Rav and he would have healed them in no time.

  8. Next time just run them over and then throw this abuser and rashah into jail and throw away the key. How many times will the authorities continue to play games with allowing him out of jail, escape the country and then with the help of his hoodlum followers run around the world creating a circus and making frum yidden look like a bunch of nutcases. Someone at high levels is obviously protecting him to avoid political fallout from his followers.

  9. “…criminal offenses, of which evidence and testimonies were gathered against the suspects of receiving tens of thousands of shekels for brachos and promises of healing and other yeshuos.” That’s a Crime?

  10. The man is a heartless con artist and a convicted criminal who has repeatedly taken advantage of and severely harmed the desperate, the weak and the defenseless. Now we get to hear a ‘chossid’ of his calling on him to kill the police.

  11. dont worry rabbanim have already spoken out against ywn for the above article which goes against the psak bais din. They have suggested to stop using the site and to refrain from advertising on it until an explanation is given

  12. I am utmost surprised that not one of you even mentioned that ywn offended the entire breslov chasiddim by calling them a cult shame on all you imbasills

  13. Simple sense: Yes, it is a violation of law in EY (and most other countries) to take money for fraudulent representations and commitments (especially from elderly and vulnerable populations). The guy is a convicted felon and abuser of women and shouldn’t be allowed to exploit the tzibur ever again.

  14. Bailashafra: “rabbanim have already spoken out against ywn for the above article which goes against the psak bais din. They have suggested to stop using this site”….

    Then why are you here giving us musar……like the other baal habatim who regularly log in to their computers, type in the YWN URL on their browsers and show up here to cry gevalt and remind us that the gadolim have banned the internet.
    Mazel tov for your strict adherence to your own musar. Now why don’t you check in with your airline to confirm you flight to Uman for Rosh Hashanah BUT make sure not to do so

  15. I am beyond caring for anyone who falls for this charlatan/rasha/pervert. He is the type who would have been cursed by our great grandparents and here, in Eretz Yisrael, there are people who think he can cure cancer? with drops? and are willing to be run over for him?
    He molests women and the husbands give him money? What happened to us?
    If only Trump’s plan could send these people to Palestine, we would be so much better off.