The lawyer, Ephraim Dimri, said at that time: "We would have definitely got the Rav shlit”a acquitted, but we cannot leave him suffering behind bars."
(If you want more of the detailed back story about what happened with the plea bargain and why, read THIS, THIS and THIS, over on Shuvu Banim website.)
In the meantime, the fears for the Rav's health should he have to spend another two years waiting in prison just for his case to come to trial were borne out, when it was later discovered that the Rav had a number of growths that the Israeli Prison Service were leaving untreated.
The Rav had two operations back-to-back to remove the growths, once his followers found out what was going on and arranged private doctors to carry out the surgery - but only after a lot of wrangling with the Israeli 'justice' system, that clearly is doing everything in its power to take the Rav permanently out of action, God-forbid.
That's why they sent the 80 year old Rav back to prison within a week of a second serious surgery to have his kidney removed.
Already, by the time of the Rav's surgeries he had passed the 2/3 mark of his sentence. As the lawyer explained when the Rav made his plea bargain, when you plead guilty, the Israeli 'justice' system automatically knocks off a third of your sentence as a kind of 'thank you' for saving them the time and trouble of having to actually prosecute you.
Yet, despite his ill-health, his advance age, and the fact that they know that there is NO EVIDENCE AT ALL against Rav Berland and the whole case against him was a pure fabrication from start to finish, the Israeli 'justice' system has postponed one hearing after another, on whether to make the decision to free the Rav, as they agreed.
Today, Monday April 3, 2017, the Israeli judges are sitting again, and they will finally render the decision about whether to free the elderly tzaddik from prison, or not.
All night long, hundreds of his students were at the Kotel, reciting the whole book of Tehillim and a few Tikkun HaKlalis. The success of the tzaddikim is also the success of Am Yisrael, and the forces of good in the world, more generally.
We all really need the Rav to be freed before Pesach.
Is that going to happen? I don't know. The people persecuting the Rav are some of the nastiest characters walking the face of the earth, and they are pursuing their vendetta until the bitter end.
Yet...prayer counts for so much. Prayer can turn everything around, and redeem the Rav from prison, and us from our own forms of slavery and suffering.
So please take a few moments and recite a Tikkun HaKlali for Rav Eliezer ben Ettia when you read this, or say a few words of prayer, or give a few coins to tzedaka.
Most of us are reaching cracking point in our private lives, whether we realise that or not. If the Rav doesn't get out for Pesach, the next few months could be very difficult for Am Yisrael.
I just heard that the court decided to release the Rav, kind of, to house arrest at the Hadassah hotel that's adjoining the Hadassah hospital.
Sadly, yet another growth has now been found, so it looks at though Rav Berland will have to undergo yet more serious surgery, hence the stay in the Hadassah hotel. Again, this is a direct result of the Israeli police refusing to let the Rav see a doctor for months while he was in prison.
The Israeli court have also loaded a whole bunch of ridiculous conditions on the Rav's 'release' to the Hadassah hotel, including making him pay for everything, including the cost of keeping him under guard 24/7 (!) and putting extremely strict conditions on who he can speak to and where he can go.
The Rav is not allowed to leave the Hadassah hotel / hospital unless his rehabilitation schedule requires it, and it's been pre-agreed with the Israeli government.
So, the Rav is out of prison, technically, but still imprisoned in Hadassah hospital, in the meantime, and by no means 'free' in the true sense of the word.
So the darkness has lifted a fraction, but not completely.
I will keep you posted, but please keep praying for Rav Eliezer ben Ettia, as his challenges haven't ended yet, but seem to have at least lightened a little now, BH.