Israeli rabbi arrested at airport on rape charges


(JTA) — Israeli police arrested a prominent rabbi trying to leave the country amid accusations that he committed rape and other sex crimes.

The rabbi was arrested Thursday night at Ben Gurion Airport based on a complaint to police by a woman who claimed that he raped her several years ago, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. According to the news site, the rabbi was on his way to Brazil.

The rabbi’s name was not published in the Israeli media, but he was identified as a yeshiva head from the Safed area who belongs to modern Orthodox Zionist circles.

The woman came forward after another woman told local rabbis that the suspect committed an indecent act 13 years ago.

The man’s lawyer and his wife denied the accusations to Walla News.

A panel of rabbis in the Safed area led by the city’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, has been reviewing complaints against the rabbi. For the duration of the internal probe, the suspect was forbidden to contact members of his congregation and agreed to leave Safed. He also closed his Facebook account.

Earlier this week, a Dutch court ordered the extradition of an Israeli rabbi, Eliezer Berland, who is accused of having sexual relations with minors before 2012, the year he fled Israel. Berland has denied the allegations.

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