Israel last week received word of the arrest of Shuvu Banim Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Eliezer Berland. The Rabbi, who is wanted for alleged crimes in Israel, fled South Africa to avoid arrest only to be placed in custody in Holland. Israel was pleased and the rabbi’s extradition is expected but Israel soon learned the rabbi was released on bail on erev Shabbos despite having been arrested in compliance with a request from Israel Police via an international arrest warrant filed by Interpol. The rabbi was arrested on Thursday when he got off the flight from S. Africa.
The rabbi was remanded on erev Shabbos and released on €50,000 bail. The rabbi’s attorney, Sharon Nahari reports to the media the handling of the case is rare because the charges against the rabbi are not serious, adding his client is 77-years-old.
Nahari adds the rabbi will remain in Holland in the coming months, remaining with followers, and he will fight Israel’s efforts to extradite him. The rabbi is quoted saying that he does not plan to return to Israel.
“I am done with the State of Israel, which is a State of Hamas. They fire missiles at Israel yet it is me they are afraid of, me they are hunting instead of hunting true criminals or terrorists. They haven’t any evidence against me, no case, nothing at all” the rav is quoted saying.
The rav has been avoiding arrest for over 18 months, having traveled to a number of countries including Morocco and Zimbabwe.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)