Sunday, July 12, 2020

(Andrew Friedman/TPS) The Jerusalem Magistrates Court agreed to a plea bargain Tuesday in the case of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, leader of the Shuvu Banim Hasidic community who pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault last summer. Berland will serve a 15-month sentence.

Berland’s case made headlines in 2013 when he fled the country ahead of a police investigation into complaints that he abused his position of leadership by making unwanted sexual advances against women in the community. He spent three years on the run before being apprehended in South Africa and extradited to Israel in July 2016.

During his trial, Berland agreed to confess to two counts of sexual assault in exchange for several counts of molestation being dropped. He also agreed to pay compensation to the victims and said that in Biblical times he would have been sentenced to death by stoning and fire.