Rabbi Berland
Rabbi Berland Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

An 82-year-old Israeli rabbi was charged Sunday with incitement to violence and fraud over alleged miracle cures.

Eliezer Berland, head of the Shuvu Banim institutions, a group which is an extremist faction of the Breslov hasidic community, was arrested on February 9.

He is accused of "taking advantage of his status to extract money from people in distress, knowing full well that he could not help them," the court indictment said.

"The accused is the head of a community of thousands of worshipers for whom he has supreme authority," it added.

He was accused of pretending to have special powers to heal the sick over many years, demanding large sums of money in exchange.

In a video shown on Israeli television in November, Berland promises to cure a child suffering from cancer, giving him medicine and demands 5,000 shekels ($1,400).

The medication was just sweets, the charges allege.

In another case, he is accused of having taken 10,000 shekels to treat a woman suffering from lung cancer.

The woman died and her daughter filed a complaint.

In 2016, he was jailed for 18 months after sexually assaulting three women.

The vast majority oft the Breslov hasidic community disapproves storngly of the Shuvu Banim group, who have been known to engage in violence, and some have come forward saying they are pleased that the group's actions are being investigated.

Many of Berland's supporters remain convinced of his innocence and when he was arrested in February, some of his disciples attacked police, injuring two, according to Israeli authorities.

Berland rose to prominence in the 1980s for organizing clandestine pilgrimages to the tomb of the founder of Breslov hasidism, Rabbi Nachman, in the town of Uman in Ukraine.

Uman became accessible and the pilgrimage became popular, especially for the Jewish New Year, after the fall of the communist regime.