Clashes in a widespread police raid on the “Shuvu Benim” yeshiva in Jerusalem, during which the head of the yeshiva, Eliezer Berland, was also arrested: Rabbi Berland, 82, was arrested early morning along with five other suspects – including his wife – in a raid in which police raided the homes of six suspects. They were arrested on suspicion of felonies, fraudulent receipt and tax evasion worth hundreds of millions of shekels. During the arrests, stones were thrown at the forces, and two police officers were wounded.
The police statement said that in recent months there had been a covert investigation on suspicion of felony, fraudulent receipt and serious tax offenses committed over several years by the same suspects. As the investigation progressed, the investigators were able to decipher the suspects’ hierarchical behavior, in which each of them has a defined role, all under the care and use of Rabbi Berland.
The investigation focused on two main levels: On the criminal level Evidence and testimony were collected against the suspects, who allegedly exploited the cynical and cruel exploits of hundreds of civilians and their families, who were probably in their most difficult times, demanding tens of thousands of shekels for blessings and healing.
The economic plane, In which police investigators, in conjunction with a tax assessor, succeeded in investigating the Jerusalem Tax Authority and the National Insurance Institute, to reveal the infrastructure for committing a variety of money laundering offenses, dropping revenues and tax penalties worth hundreds of millions of shekels, which are believed to have been suspected by the use of dozens of bank accounts used as a platform.
Police said it was a complex and complex investigation, which, as mentioned earlier this morning, reached the open stage with the arrest of the suspects, residents of Jerusalem. During the detention operation, which included the use of a dog unit, violators began throwing stones and objects at the police in an attempt to prevent the arrests, resulting in two police officers being injured.
Police said they “intend to use whatever means available to us to reach the perpetrators’ identities and bring them to justice for their actions. We urge anyone who feels that a similar pattern of action or any of the suspects should contact the police station as soon as possible and give their testimony.”
Rabbi Berland has for years been considered one of the charismatic leaders of the Braslav Chassidic. Hundreds of followers gathered around him at his “Return Boys” meeting, many of whom repented. In 2012, his sexual harassment case exploded, and Berland fled the country, initially to Morocco – with which Israel has no extradition treaty – and after being deported moved to Zimbabwe. There, too, he was arrested, deported, and along with dozens of his followers settled in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He also later fled and arrived in the Netherlands. When the State of Israel officially filed for extradition, he fled to South Africa again, where he was arrested. Eventually, he was extradited to Israel in July 2016. That same year, he was convicted under a plea bargain for indecent crimes and assault. He was sent to 18 months in prison, of which 10 months was actually spent.