Read More Atheist Republic Members of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect broke free from a Mexican government shelter, evading the authorities by fleeing in a vehicle.
On the night of September 28, a group of twenty or more members from an extremist radical Jewish sect, also known as the Lev Tahor, overwhelmed the security guards and escaped from a detention shelter in the Huixtla town of the southern Mexican state, Chiapas.
Most of the group consisted of children wearing long, flowing robes who forcefully made their way out of the complex by climbing over a fallen security guard. The members were initially detained after a police raid resulted in the arrest of one of the cult’s leaders accused of organized crime and human trafficking on September 23.
After getting away from the shelter, they boarded a waiting truck outside and set out toward the Guatemala–Mexico border. According to the reports, the local police, national guard, and Mexico’s immigration agency refrained from pursuing them.
The Mexican authorities arrested Menachem Endel Alter, one of the leaders of the Lev Tahor sect. According to the sect members, an unknown second leader was also captured, but no confirmation was received from the government’s side.
However, this is not the first time the cult had to deal with legal issues. Last November, two leaders of the cult were detained for the charges of kidnapping and child sexual exploitation crimes in New York. Reportedly they abducted two children from the custody of their mother to return one of the minors, who was then a 14-year-old girl, to an adult male who previously had an illegal sexual relationship with her.
LEV TAHOR UPDATE:THURSDAY 3/31 – 11am ESTSentencing for Nachman Helbrans and Mayer Rosner on multiple kidnap-related charges.LISTEN LIVE: 877-336-1839 (code: 1231334#)WATCH SHORT RECAP OF CASE: pic.twitter.com/cEjvrPo4la
— Lev Tahor Survivors (@LevTsurvivors) March 30, 2022
Founded by Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans in Jerusalem in the 1980s, Lev Tahor (Pure Heart in Hebrew) is an extremist religious sect that follows a fundamentalist form of Jewish practice and acts in accordance with its unconventional interpretations of Jewish law. The Mexican press dubbed it the “Jewish Taliban” because of the sect’s beliefs and practices.
After the Canadian authorities accused the sect of child abuse and child marriage and began their investigation, the group decided to flee from Canada to Guatemala in 2014. In 2017, after Helbrans had drowned in a river in Mexico, the control of Lev Tahor was left in the hands of his son.
The current number of members of the group number around 300 to 350, and it is known that the sect has members in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and Israel.
Earlier this year, several dozen were identified traveling through the Balkans. Documents from 2019 presented at a US federal court stated that some members swore allegiance to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, in 2018 in a bid for asylum.
One of the reasons why the sect is dubbed “Jewish Taliban” is because they force women and girls over the age of three to wear long black robes and cover their entire bodies, including their faces. The men have lengthy prayer sessions where they spend most of their time studying the Torah (the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible).