A rabbi accused of giving terminally ill people Mentos sweets and claiming they were a miracle cure was told to try it himself when his lawyer complained that his client was unwell.
Rabbi Eliezer Berland had his custody period extended by eight days by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on 13th February following his arrest on 9th February on suspicion of fraud, financial exploitation and tax offences, according to local media.
According to local media, Berland handed out fake or ineffective medicines, including Mentos sweets, to ill people with terminal or incurable conditions in return for large cash payments.
At one point during the hearing, the rabbi’s lawyer claimed that his client was feeling unwell as he had been arrested one day after a medical procedure, to which Judge Sharon Leari Bavli suggested: “Give him a Mentos!”
When the police raided the rabbi’s home, they reportedly found antibiotic drops, sweets and other placebos which he allegedly handed out to desperate victims.
The lawyer replied: “The cure he [Berland] gives is deep in the spiritual world and not the material world. Does anyone really think he started a medical start-up and succeeded where all other doctors in the world could not?
“It doesn’t matter if it is Mentos or Tic Tacs, the blessing he gives is the cure. He gives his blessing using material means, therefore no matter if it’s Mentos or Tic Tacs, it’s the cure. If you believe in blessings then you believe in the cure, if you don’t you don’t.”
In recent weeks, over 200 people with terminal or incurable illnesses have given statements to the Israeli cops claiming that Berland gave them fake medicine as part of his healing treatments, according to reports.
The investigation continues.
According to ‘Times of Israel’, Berland fled Israel in 2013 amid claims that he had sexually abused several women who followed him. He returned in 2016 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison for two counts of indecent acts and one assault. He was freed five months into his sentence due to ill health.
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