The spokesman for an anti-Zionist Haredi cult praised the IDF in a clip accessed Wednesday by the Times of Israel, which could undermine the extremist group’s ongoing efforts to seek asylum in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The clip – a Zoom conversation taped shortly after the Gaza war that Israel had with Hamas last May – shows Lev Tahor spokesman Uriel Goldman dismissing as a “joke” allegations that the IDF was during Using excessive force during the 11 days of fighting.
“There [are] People who always say, “How come you attack children?” there [are] victim[ies] with children! ‘â€¦ It’s nonsense because you know how [Israel] care[s] Above [these] Things a lot more than Americans, â€Goldman can be heard saying.
The clip was accessed as the cult of roughly 280 members – which include citizens of Israel, the United States, and Canada – gradually made its way from Guatemala, where they are based, to Iran, sources familiar with the Times shared of Israel on Wednesday with.
Cult members and victims’ rights groups have informed the Israeli, US and Guatemalan governments that they believe there could be a “massive diplomatic incident” if Lev Tahor comes to Iran, but the authorities have acted slowly, one called the sources.
“The Shalit deal will look like a piece of cake next to it,” said a relative of the news site Ynet on Wednesday, referring to the 2011 prisoner deal with Hamas, in which Israel 1,027 Palestinian terrorists in exchange for the imprisoned soldier Gilad Shalit released since 2006.
????????? – PHOTOS: A family belonging to the Lev Tahor cult was stopped at Guatemala airport on their way to Iran. Their plan was to fly from Kurdistan and from there to Iran. They told police officers that they were being “persecuted” and therefore applied for asylum in Iran. pic.twitter.com/8aCYZWSxaa
– Belaaz News (@TheBelaaz) October 6, 2021
Lev Tahor applied for asylum in Iran in 2018, pledging allegiance to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and claiming that he was being persecuted for his anti-Zionist stance, according to documents submitted to a U.S. federal court in 2019.
In the past few weeks, several small groups of Lev Tahor members have left Guatemala for the Middle East to cross the border with Iraqi Kurdistan into Iran, a well-known source said. Efforts by authorities and private detectives hired by victim rights groups have managed to temporarily delay the sect’s travel plans. Some of the members who arrived at the airport in Guatemala found that their passports had been denied.
The Guatemalan authorities have already arrested a number of sect members who are US citizens and allegedly on their way to Iran in the past few days at the request of American authorities, Ynet reported.
According to Yeshiva World News, the first reported on the attempted relocation of the sect to Iran in the last few weeks was one of those who were already in Iraq, the spokesman for Lev Tahor, Uriel Goldman, along with Amram Moshe Yosef Rosner and Yosef Hanoch Helbrans.
Goldman could hear him mocking those who sympathized with the Palestinians on the Zoom video last summer. â€œWe laugh when they say, ‘Oh the Palestinians! So nebach (Yiddish for unhappy). They’re attacking them. ‘ It’s a joke. Between you and me everyone knows it’s a joke. “
Schmiel Weingarten, who was arrested in July during a joint raid by American and local Guatemalan authorities on suspicion of child abuse and kidnapping, sits next to Goldman and nods. Weingarten is said to be another influential leader in Lev Tahor.
The group has been described as a sect and a “Jewish Taliban” because women and girls aged 3 and over are required to wear long black robes that cover their entire bodies and only leave their faces exposed. The men spend most of their time in prayer and studying certain parts of the Torah.
“Marriages” between underage teenagers and older members are common.