Two Cult Members Indicted in 35 Year Old Murder Case

Eliezer Berland covered with a prayer shawl arrives for a court hearing arrives for a police investigation at a police station in Jerusalem, November 2, 2021 (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Two indictments have been brought in the murder case of Nissim Shitrit, who disappeared in 1986.

The two suspects, both members of the Berland “Shuvu Bonim” cult were charged Friday for their alleged role in the brutal kidnapping and murder of Mr. Shitrit, who was 17 at the time. According to reports, these charges are the first made in connection with his murder.

Baruch Sharvit, 76, and the son of a former minister, whose identity has not been disclosed, were indicted for the murder.

Disgraced cult leader Eliezer Berland, currently in prison for numerous convictions, is suspected of being involved as well.

Last month, three members of the cult were arrested in connection with the murder, as well as another murder case from 1990.

The indictment provides new details, saying that Berland’s son-in-law, Tzvika Tzuker, organized “tznius squads,” and ordered them to threaten Mr. Shitrit. Mr. Shitrit was abducted from his school in Ashdod four months before he disappeared, taken to a secluded location in Jerusalem, and beaten.

Mr. Shitrit then filed a complaint, and one of his suspected killers was temporarily detained by police. According to Channel 12, that person escaped the country after the murder to create an alibi.

Four months later, Mr. Shitrit was lured to an address by someone connected with the cult, and was beaten to death by the same group of abductors. In a documentary in 2020, a former student claimed that the cult buried his body near Beit Shemesh, although his remains were never found.

According to the indictment, there are others involved who have not yet been detained.

“The serious acts attributed to the accused indicate his danger to the public despite the lapse of time since the murder attributed to him,” says the indictment. “The fact that this is a multi-stage event, a very complex and extremely cruel event which was intended to impose the lifestyles of the defendants on the deceased and the public, establishes a reasonable basis for fear that his release will endanger public safety.”

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