A Jerusalem district court has approved the final plea bargain agreement for Shuvu Banim founder Rabbi Eliezer Berland.
Berland, who fled Israel after being accused in 2012 of sexually assaulting several female followers, was apprehended by South African authorities and extradited to Israel in July of this year.
While he previously denied the charges against him, on Tuesday he acknowledged his actions and expressed remorse for them.
“I regret, from the deepest part of my heart, and apologize to everyone whom I hurt, man or woman, male or female.”
As part of the plea bargain, Rabbi Berland will be sentenced to 18 months in prison, but will be credited with time served since he was taken into custody in July.
Rabbi Berland said he appreciated the “light” sentence he was handed down, comparing the jail term to the executions of two thousand years ago.
“For the things I did, back in the Biblical days, they would have stoned me or burned me to death. But today they’re lenient in the punishments, and I want to keep this [plea bargain] agreement.”