Rabbi Eliezer Berland
Rabbi Eliezer BerlandFlash 90

Overturning an appeal on a local court ruling in February, the Dutch Supreme Court on Tuesday authorized the extradition of the leader of a Jewish hassidic sect wanted in Israel for alleged indecent assault of women and girls.

"Rabbi (Eliezer) Berland, currently living in the Netherlands, can be extradited to Israel," the Supreme Court said in a statement.

The extradition process has been dragged out over recent months, as Berland was hospitalized in January for heart-related illness even before his petition of the ruling.

The rabbi has opposed his extradition, claiming the alleged assaults happened over the 1949 Armistice lines and that Israel has no jurisdiction, and that he was not an Israeli citizen.

Dutch police arrested Berland, 78, in September, although he had been freed on bail pending a ruling on his extradition.

He was arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport after he evaded authorities who tried to arrest him in South Africa.

The rabbi fled Israel three years ago after several women and a 15-year-old girl laid charges of indecent assault against him.

He evaded capture in the United States, Switzerland, Morocco and Zimbabwe, as well as in South Africa.

The Dutch justice ministry must now decide when to send the rabbi back to Israel.

AFP contributed to this report.