‘Give him a mentos’ quips judge to defense attorney for Berland, who is accused of giving fake medicine he blessed, including mentos candies, to the sick in return for payment.
By JEREMY SHARON, JERUSALEM POST STAFF
The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court extended on Thursday the custody of disgraced rabbi Eliezer Berland by eight days following his arrest on Sunday on suspicion of fraud, financial exploitation and tax offenses.The charges against Berland relate to an alleged scheme in which he dispensed fake or ineffective medicine, which he had blessed for people sick with terminal or incurable diseases in return for payment amounting to tens of thousands of shekels.The police reportedly found antibiotic drops and even Mentos mints in their raid of his premises, which Berland gave to those he took money from. During Thursday’s hearing, the judge questioned Berland’s defense attorney, asking whether giving candy as medicine does not count as fraud, to which he replied that a charge of deceit can only be leveled at someone who knows that he is consciously being deceitful.Berland’s attorney continued, saying that, "the cure he [Berland] gives is deep in the spirit world and not the material world. Does anyone really think he started a medical start-up and succeeded where all the doctors in the world could not?"He explained that “It doesn’t matter if it is Mentos or Tic Tacs, the blessing he gives is the cure. He gives his blessing using a 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.”AdvertisementAt one point during the hearing, Berland’s attorney claimed his client felt unwell since he had been arrested a day after undergoing catheterization. In response, Judge Sharon Leari Bavli suggested to “give him a Mentos.”In recent weeks, over 200 testimonies have been taken by Israel Police from people with terminal illnesses and their relatives, who allege that Berland gave them fake medicine while promising that they would be cured of their illnesses.