While the Lev Tahor cult is operating outside of Israel, Justice Rivka Mekias of a Magistrate Court ruled it is a “harmful cult”, addressing a petition from Attorney General and family members of minors who joined the cult.
According to estimates, there are between 50 and 60 families with 200 children. The justice ruled it is a harmful cult that is having a profound negative impact on the community’s children.
“We are dealing with a community in which there is a very serious injury that borders on the extent of abuse, the details of it in general, and the minors in it in particular,” the judge writes, referring to the children of the extremist community.
“It has been proven to me that the members of the adult community are also exposed to severe corporal punishment, taanis dibur and regular fasting, for months as a punishment for conduct that is not in accordance with the instructions of the community leaders, contact with the outside world, the intervention of the head of the community in marriage and divorce of members of the community, so that it determines who will marry whom and who will divorce from whom, economic control of the head of the community members of the community, cut off from the outside world and from the families of origin and prevent the community leaving the community at will, Because a member of a community that wishes to leave must deport his wife and leave his children”, the court added.
The court concluded Lev Tahor is not another chassidic kehilla, but a dangerous cult. The court was acting at the behest of the attorney general.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)