Rabbi Eliezer Berland in Custody in South Africa


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berlandHead of the Shuvu Banim Kehilla, Rabbi Eliezer Berland Shlita, has reportedly been taken into custody in Johannesburg, Southern Africa. According to the reports reaching Eretz Yisrael, the arrest followed a pursuit that lasted hours. A number of the Rabbis closest associates were reportedly taken into custody with him for assisting him to flee authorities in this and other cases.

The news was received with shock in the Shuvu Banim Kehilla. The Rabis attorney, Sharon Nahari, is verifying the reported arrest. It is added Rabbi Berland recently underwent surgery for an unreported condition and was not totally well when arrested and has been hospitalized.

Rabbi Berland has been wanted for question by Israel Police for a number of years. In fact, he fled over three years ago and has since been traveling to avoid arrest, seeking refuge in countries that do not maintain an extradition agreement with Israel. The Rabbi fled to Morocco, but was then compelled to flee that country and spent Chanukah 2013 in Zimbabwe. He was instructed to leave there in April 2014 and from there he headed to S. Africa. An international warrant for his arrest was issued against him while in S. Africa and from there, he traveled to Amsterdam where he spent Yom Kippur with hundreds of chassidim. During this period he was hospitalized and then he was permitted to leave custody while the court deliberated the case addressing his extradition to Israel. In February 2015 the Dutch court ruled to honor the Israeli extradition request and send him back. He managed to flee again and remained in hiding until his arrest now, in S. Africa. The rav’s travels to escape extradition to Israel included other stops as well, including a brief stay in Switzerland.

According to one version of the report, the rav was hospitalized for some type of cardiac episode and when he was released, he was shocked to find special forces and agents of Interpol waiting to place him and two aides into custody.

It would now appear that the rabbi will finally be returned to Israel where he is likely to face charges of assault against a number of women.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. Reporting on this story is pure Lashon Haroh and tasteless besides. I have no idea why a clean frum site like YWN follows these events.

  2. Good. He should be in jail. This man doesn’t deserve the kovod YWN gives him: the Rav, Shlit’aa etc. He is a disgrace and these idiots who support him are brainwashed. Women deserve better, as do his “chassidim.”

  3. Look how the Israelis are determined to fight this rabbi. I wonder how much money, time and personal was spent on this. This rabbi has been in a jail of some sort for the past few years. Why bother, this rabbi is almost 80 years old.

    Hatred destroyes normalcy!

  4. I am not a follower or supporter of Rav Berland or of Shuvu Banim. Yet, I feel compelled to state that no one seems to know exactly what’s going on with this rabbi. The media, as usual, has already convicted Rav Berland. While I agree that fleeing the way he did a few years ago certainly looks suspicious — after all — innocent people don’t run, right? Nevertheless, as frum Jews, we all know that allegations, accusations, innuendos, and everything in between don’t count for borscht. If he is accused by a qualified Beis Din, and surely if he would be convicted by one, that would mean he is guilty. Anything else, is just defamation, lashon hara, and is in all probability ossur. If there is “politics” involved here that prevent a qualified beis din from handling the case, here too, there are halachic rules how to proceed, on possibly involving the secular legal authorities. But, in the absence of a definitive psak din in the matter, or even a da’as Torah opinion on the case given by a qualified gadol ba’Torah, wouldn’t it be more prudent to avoid discussing and reporting the entire matter? Wait until the Torah speaks and issues a decision. And if none is forthcoming, too bad then. We are Torah Jews, and we are enjoined by our Torah to keep silent.

  5. Some of the comments here are really not fair. As of right now, we truly do not know exactly what happened. It is human nature to believe a negative report even though we only heard one side of the story.. Maybe this man was on the run, due to the fact, he was afraid that they will torture him during questioning. Some countries force people to confess certain acts that they really did not do.

  6. How can anyone judge what happened without knowing unbiased facts. A person is innocent until proven guilty. And when such cases are brought to court it’s very difficult to prove innocence. I know of a couple of cases who were 100 per cent innocent yet were found guilty. The social services go all out to bring charges. I can understand why he ran away

  7. Judicial system is saying not guilty until proven guilty. I think it’s disgusting to read those comments from a Jew to another Jew before any convictions!

    Is this how we prepare ourselves to welcome Hashem on Passover?

    Cleaning the house reminding us to clean our hearts…