Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Holland's Supreme Court has ruled Rabbi Eliezer Berland can be extradited to Israel where he faces charges of sexual molestation. This should end an Odyssey which has lasted for several years since Berland first fled Israel and during which time he jumped from country to country in both Africa and Europe.
Now it is up to the Dutch Justice Ministry to decide if it will do so. The Rabbi has said that Israel has no authority to try him for any crimes committed in what he calls occupied Palestine. No one in Israel really believes that he really believes this and is not just trying to avoid justice.
Rabbi Berland, 77, was accused by several women and one minor of sexually assaulting them. He ran from Israel in 2012 and arrived in the Netherlands at the end of last year.
Berland, a member of the Breslav Hasidic movement, is considered the leader of the Shuvu Bonim community in Israel, with an estimated few hundred followers. At the time, he claimed he was being persecuted in Israel because of his support for Palestinian statehood.
Berland was arrested in September during a layover at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, on his way from South Africa to the Ukraine. Since running away from his accusers in Israel in 2012, the rabbi has visited the U.S., Morocco, Zimbabwe and Switzerland, according to JTA.
Several dozen of Berland's followers have settled in the Netherlands to be near their rebbe. Well there is no limit to how far religious fanatics will go or what they will believe about their leaders.
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