Israeli minister’s son accused of murder in case from 35 years ago

Benjamin Zeevi, son of former politician Rehavam Zeevi, identified as suspect in 35-year Shuvu Banim murder case.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

The defendants in a 35-year-old murder case were identified as Benjamin Zeevi, the son of the late right-wing politician and cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi, and Baruch Sharvit, both members of the Shuvu Banim sect, which was led by disgraced Rabbi Eliezer Berland. They were indicted for the 1986 murder of teenager Nissim Shitrit.

The Jerusalem Magistrates Court lifted a gag order, allowing the publication of the names of the defendants.

The indictments said Zeevi and Sharvit were members of the Shuvu Banim’s “Modesty Guard” who suspected that the 17-year-old Shitrit was improperly meeting with girls. Shitrit was not a member of Shuvu Banim.

According to the indictment, the two attacked Shitrit, who filed a complaint with the police. Several months later, Zeevi and Sharvit lured Shitrit to an apartment where they beat him. They then took the teen to a forest in the area of Beit Shemesh and with help from other Shuvu Banim members, buried his body after he died of his injuries.

Police say Rabbi Berland, Shuvu Banim’s leader, ordered the murder and may have been present. The 83-year-old rabbi is currently imprisoned after being convicted of fraud and exploitation charges. He has previously served time for sex offenses.

Members of Shuvu Banim have also been questioned about the murder of 41-year-old Avraham Edri, a Jerusalem resident and former member of the sect who was murdered in 1990.