This week, the small group of Breslov zealots who have been persecuting Rav Eliezer Berland and his followers struck again, plastering more slanderous lies about the Rav and Shuvu Banim all over billboards around Israel.
The incredible story begins on Shabbat, when Rav Moshe Kramer, head of the Breslev yeshiva in Meah Shearim, was attacked in public and had his shtreimel knocked off. A police investigation later affirmed that Rav Kramer’s attacker was an individual who was not affiliated at all with Shuvu Banim, and that the attack had come about as the result of a monetary dispute between the assailant and Rav Kramer.
But, ever on the look-out for new ways of slandering Rav Berland and his followers, the Breslov zealots headed up by the brothers YTC and LC immediately started spreading the story that Shuvu Banim was behind the attack on Rav Kramer.
When news of the attack reached Rav Berland, he immediately put out a recording condemning it, and encouraged his students at Shuvu Banim to attend the gathering being organized by members of the Breslov shul in Meah Shearim, to protest the outrage done to Rav Kramer.
In the meantime, the zealots wasted no time pasting posters up in every Chareidi city in Israel, falsely blaming Shuvu Banim for the attack.
But worse was still to come.
On the day the gathering was due to be held in the Breslev shul in Meah Shearim, the Breslov zealot YTC arrived at the shul many hours in advance of the protest, together with 40 Arabs YTC had hired as ‘security guards’.
YTC distributed batons and tear gas to these Arab ‘security guards’, and gave them strict instructions that they were not to let anyone in to the shul from Shuvu Banim. At this stage, around 20 other non-Shuvu Banim were in the Breslev shul, and they witnessed everything that was occurring from the inside of the building.
A little later, the streets of Meah Shearim were heaving with hundreds of the Rav’s followers, who’d come to protest the attack on Rav Kramer and to show solidarity with the Breslev shul in Meah Shearim. Under instructions from YTC, the Arabs barred the doors of the shul, refused to let anyone in, and then started spraying the crowds of people outside with industrial amounts of tear gas.
Before this occurred, the Rav’s followers had decided to hold a prayer gathering outside the Breslov shul in Meah Shearim, seeing as they were being barred from entering, and they started broadcasting a shiur from Rav Berland on a loud speaker, as he happened to be giving his daily phone class at that same time.
Police were called – but they refused to get involved, or to evict the Arab ‘security guards’ from the Breslov shul, or to stop them from spraying the crowds in the street with tear gas.
The gabbay of the Breslev shul could see the situation was quickly deteriorating, so he told the Arabs that the prayer gathering had been cancelled, and turned off the shul’s electricity. At this point, the Arab ‘security guards’ started breaking windows in the Breslov shul, and trashing holy seforim (books) – in effect enacting a mini-pogrom. YTC had brought his own photographers to take pictures of the terrible situation he’d created within the shul and within the streets of Meah Shearim and to shove the blame on Shuvu Banim.
In the later footage shown on the Israeli TV station Arutz 2, you can clearly see the Arab ‘security guards’ breaking the windows, as the Shuvu Banim standing outside on the street tried to stop them. But from the vantage point of the photographers stationed inside the shul, it was all too easy to take a picture that appeared to show that it was the Shuvu Banim students who were trying to break the windows.
YTC and LC immediately took this ‘evidence’ to all the usual media lackeys they’ve used in the past to slander Rav Berland and his followers, and blamed the whole fiasco on Shuvu Banim – despite the fact that 100s of witnesses on the streets of Meah Shearim, plus many of the individuals inside the shul attested that it was the Arabs who were trashing the shul.
The Breslov zealots next took the mind-boggling step of printing up more than 100,000 pamphlets containing their carefully-chosen pre-arranged photos and slanderous account of what had happened, and distributed them to every Chareidi city in Israel, as well as the ‘frum’ media outlets, too.
All this was occurring as Rav Berland was going into hospital for a serious, emergency operation. When he was told about the pamphlets, the Rav told his followers not to fight back, and not to respond to the ongoing provocations of the Breslov zealots, even though the police had already announced that the original assault on Rav Kramer had nothing to do with Shuvu Banim.
But amazingly, more was still to come. As the Rav was having his life-threatening surgery, huge billboards appeared in every Chareidi town, from Bnei Brak to Elad and Beit Shemesh, bearing the headline (paraphrased from the Hebrew): “A protest about the attack against Rav Moshe Kramer done by lowlifes from Shuvu Banim” – and which then segued into yet more horrible, slanderous lies about Rav Berland.
At the end of this horrible rant, came a long list of names of prominent Breslov rabbis, who’d apparently signed on this terrible statement.
Very quickly, many of these Rabbis put out public statements explaining how they’d been tricked by the Breslov zealots, who’d asked them to put their names to a protest against the attack on Rav Kramer, but never mentioned a word about Shuvu Banim or Rav Berland. But their statements could not reach the hundreds of thousand people that the billboards reached.
(Below, you can hear interviews with many of the rabbis who were defrauded in this way. Recordings courtesy of the Breslov hotline 02-8008800, from USA 845-640-0007, from UK +44-20-3807333)
When news of this terrible chillul Hashem reached the ears of Rav Yitzhak Meir Morgenstern, shlita, he immediately put out a statement decrying the terrible actions of the Breslov zealots, Rav Mota Frank when hearing this urged his followers to do everything they can to start publishing books – including in English – that tell the true story of who the Tzaddik and gaon Rav Berland really is.
This statement was released by Rav Mota Frank after speaking with Rav Morgenstern:
“We are obligated to publicize to as many people as possible another two volumes of the book ‘flames of fire’*. Volume 2 should contain all the amazing stories about Rav Eliezer Berland’s life during all the days of his wanderings throughout his exile to the four corners of the world; and Volume 3 should contain all the amazing stories about him from the days when he was imprisoned… All this while he is enduring such a cruel persecution from the people of AN’SH in such a horrible cruel way that it’s impossible to believe that something like this is really happening…And he, [referring to Rav Berland], even in the middle of all this he just continues to do what he always does… to stay quiet, and remain silent, and to just accept everything that is happening with love, and with a smile! And to immerse himself in Torah, tefilla, mitzvot and good deeds. And everything with happiness, songs and dancing…
and Rav Mota concludes…
“Ashrei, praiseworthy is he who will publicise these matters as quickly as possible, to as many people as possible!”
In keeping with Rav Mota’s words, Shuvu Banim have almost completed the story of the Rav’s life, accomplishments and recent exile, which will be coming out shortly as the book: One in a Generation.
To read more about One in a Generation, and / or to donate to its printing costs, please click HERE.