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Monday, October 18, 2021 

3 members of Haredi cult run by sex offender arrested on suspicion of murder

Three members of the ultra-Orthodox cult run by the "rabbi" Eliezer Berland were arrested on suspicion of committing murders dating back as far as the 80s-90s, and the way they carried them out was horrifically graphic:
Police on Sunday announced the arrest of three suspects over their alleged connection to two unsolved murders in the 1980s and 90s near Jerusalem.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, the suspects — two men and a woman in their 60s from Jerusalem — are from the extremist Shuvu Bonim sect led by convicted sex offender rabbi Eliezer Berland.

Reports said they were arrested over their involvement in the disappearance of 17-year-old Nissim Shitrit, who was allegedly beaten by the sect’s “religious police” four months before he was last seen in January 1986.

Shitrit reported the assault to police at the time, and identified a number of suspects, who were apparently never charged.

In a 2020 documentary released by the Kan public broadcaster, one of Berland’s former disciples said that the religious police murdered the boy, dismembered him, and buried his body parts in the Eshtaol Forest near Beit Shemesh. His remains were never found and the case was never solved.
Similar to Islamic societies, these cults too can have their own variation on mutawas (religious police). And the worst part here is that Israeli police at the time clearly did not do a good job, and it could've been deliberate, recalling instances where such cultists were released with little or no restrictions, and the cases were dropped with no serious effort to bring them to trial and have the culprits imprisoned. The courts in some of these investigations were just as disastrous. No chance this'll improve convincingly even now.
The second murder reportedly connected to the arrested suspects was of 41-year-old Avi Edri in 1990, who was found beaten to death in Ramot Forest in the north of Jerusalem.

In the Kan documentary, Edri’s murder was tied to Shuvu Bonim by former disciples. It too remains unsolved for over 30 years.
Additional reports tell that the new investigation will examine if Berland has any connection:
Police are probing whether convicted sex offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland, head of the extremist Shuvu Bonim sect, was personally involved in a pair of unsolved murders in the 1980s and 1990s, the Kan public broadcaster reported Sunday.

[...] Police told the court that they need to continue carrying out the investigation and following up on dozens of leads, and they are concerned that releasing the suspects could interfere in their efforts.

[...]The cult-like Shuvu Bonim offshoot of the Bratslav Hasidic sect commanded by Berland has had repeated run-ins with the law, including attacking witnesses.
If the police and/or the courts refuse to take serious steps to restrict all criminals affiliated with this cult, it'll only further the disaster they've caused.

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