Above: Rabbi Eliezer Berland in handcuffs in Zimbabwe in April
Cops Try To Arrest Hasidic Rabbi On Lam From Israeli Sex Abuse Allegations
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Police in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa broke into the compound where Breslov hasidic leader Rabbi Eliezer Berland was praying and tried to arrest him, the haredi news website Behadrei Haredim reported.
Berland is the leader of Breslov’s Shuvu Banim sect. He fled Israel almost two years ago after female followers – some of them minors – accused him of sexually abusing them.
Many of Berland’s followers remained loyal to the fleeing rabbi, who has hopped from country to country to country tying of evade extradition to Israel.
One of Berland’s followers came from Israel to Johannesburg to marry a woman who is apparently a child of one Berland’s followers there.
Everyone was in the great hall in compound and the men had just started to pray Ma’ariv (the evening prayer service), when a person in civilian clothes and police tried to snatch Berland and drag him away.
Hasidim pushed a follower who resembles Berland at police while at the same time secreting Berland in a side room, where some reports say he changed into less conspicuous clothing and finished praying in the side room undisturbed. From there, Berland went into hiding – again.
“This is another desperate attempt to chase the rabbi wherever he found. It started in Morocco continued in Zimbabwe, and now they came to Johannesburg,” a Berland follower said, adding that Berland “has a visa…and is certified to be in this place."
But Berland has had visa and other related problems before.
Like the other countries Berland has sought refuge in lately, South Africa has no extradition treaty with Israel. Nonetheless, countries usually do not like to harbor criminals who are fleeing prosecution – especially when those crimes were allegedly committed against women and children.
Berland came to South Africa in April after being expelled from Zimbabwe. Before that, Berland was expelled from Morocco and fled several countries before that.
Berland's son and grandson and several of his followers are under criminal investigation in Israel for alleged embezzlement and fraud.