Sex offender rabbi turned away from Ukraine border crossing ahead of pilgrimage

Screen capture from video of Rabbi Eliezer Berland urging his followers to travel to Uman, August 2022. (Via YouTube, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of Rabbi Eliezer Berland urging his followers to travel to Uman, August 2022. (Via YouTube, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Convicted sex offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland tries to enter Ukraine despite a ban and is turned away by border guards, Hebrew media reports.

Berland tried to cross from Romania where he has been for the past week so that he can make a pilgrimage to the city of Uman for the coming Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Ukraine put Berland on its visa blacklist after he said in a speech that the country was invaded by Russia in 2022 as a punishment for Kyiv hindering members of his Shuvu Bonim sect from visiting Uman in recent years. The remarks were reported on a website carrying Berland’s Torah lessons, then quickly deleted, but not before Ukrainian officials heard about them and slapped the rabbi with a three-year ban on entering the country.

Berland, 85, has served separate prison sentences in the past for sex offenses and fraud, and in 2021 was implicated but not charged in the decades-old murder of a teenager. He also spent years on the lam from Israeli authorities.

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