Police in Mexico removed a group of children and teenagers from a jungle camp belonging to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish group in the country, police have learned. BBC,
Agents arrested two members of Lev Tahor on suspicion of involvement in human trafficking and committing serious sex crimes, including rape, Israel’s foreign ministry reported.
One of the 3-year-olds rescued from the camp was put on a flight to Israel.
group lev tahor (Pure Heart, in Hebrew) Known for its extreme practices and imposing a strict rule on its members.
It advocates child marriage, imposes harsh punishments for minor offences, and asks women and girls under the age of 3 to completely cover themselves in clothing.
The guidelines have earned it the nickname of the Jewish Taliban, due to the similarity in its dress code imposed by the Sunni Islamist group that controls Afghanistan.
The police entered the camp, located about 17 km north of the state’s Tapachula town. chiapasLast Friday morning.
A federal judge ordered the arrest of several leaders of the group who are suspected of participating in child abuse, following an investigation conducted specifically into the organized crime investigation by the deputy attorney general’s office.
An Israeli source close to the rescue operation said the boys and girls were quickly separated from the rest of the group, fearing that other members would put them at risk by trying to block the rescue.
Israel’s foreign ministry said twenty-six members of the group were found in the camp, including Israelis with dual citizenship from countries including Canada, the United States and Guatemala.
He said a Canadian national and an Israeli national were arrested in the operation. Two other members required for justice are fleeing the camp two days before police action.
The other five were detained for alleged violations of immigration laws.
Israel’s foreign ministry said the rest of the sect’s members are in the facilities of the Mexican Welfare Secretariat awaiting a decision made with them.
The 3-year-old was the son of an Israeli, Israel Emir, who had previously left the group. On Monday, Aamir flew to Israel with his son.
Mexican police teamed up with a group of four Israeli volunteers, including former agents mosadito perform the operation.
The Israeli source said the elite police unit conducted the raids “very carefully and without resorting to violent methods”, which involved male and female officers because of the large numbers of women and children.
“Mexican officials did their job well”He added.
The operation began about two years ago, when Amir and other relatives of sect members sought help from former Mossad agents.
The team traveled between Israel and Guatemala, where the religious group settled in 2014, and conducted surveillance operations in collaboration with local officials, security agencies and a Guatemalan private investigator.
In January, some 40 to 50 members of the sect illegally crossed the border into Mexico, where they were followed into a wilderness area north of Tapachula.
Groups in Guatemala
The group’s leadership in Guatemala has been at the center of an investigation into a kidnapping case since 2018, when two minors, taken to New York by their mother after fleeing the community, were abducted again.
He was rescued three weeks later in Mexico.
Nine members of the sect were charged in this case:
Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans formed Lev Tahor in Israel in 1988 and later moved to the US.
He was imprisoned for two years in 1994 after being sentenced for kidnapping. He drowned in Mexico in 2017.
The group has about 350 members and has been forced to move from country to country in recent years after investigations by local authorities.
It currently extends to Israel, America, North Macedonia, Morocco, Mexico and Guatemala. At least 70 or 80 of its members live in the Central American country.
While some describe Lev Tahor as ultra-conservativeThe group follows its own rules and has been deemed a “dangerous cult” by an Israeli court.
Its leaders refuse to break local laws and say they are persecuted for their punishment.