Israeli authorities have stopped dozens of Jewish families of the Lev Tahor ultra-Orthodox group from fleeing to Iran where they had applied for asylum, Israeli media reported.
“Israel and the US are working to prevent members of an extremist ultra-Orthodox sect from moving to Iran, amid fears they could be used as a bargaining chip by Tehran,” the Times of Israel newspaper reported, noting that the group; which is anti-Zionist, applied for political asylum in 2018.
Hundreds of the Jewish ultra-orthodox Lev Tahor sect are trying to reach Iran, where they requested political asylum in 2019, but their relatives are afraid that Tehran may use the group, who hold Israeli and American citizenships, as bargaining chips.https://t.co/1p3vbVDnMy
— Ron Arzi (@ronarzi) October 14, 2021
The paper said documents presented at a US federal court in 2019 showed that leaders of the Hasidic community requested asylum in Iran and swore allegiance to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
According to the Ynet News site, concerns were building that hundreds of members of the group, mainly based in Guatemala, could be trying to move to Iran after dozens of families were spotted at the airport in Guatemala, apparently on their way to the Kurdistan-Iran border.
Lev Tahor members try to go Iran https://t.co/iw2Mggz1cs
— Shayna Weiss (@shaynamalka) October 13, 2021
The report said their relatives contacted the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Justice Department and asked them to urgently contact their Guatemalan counterparts to prevent the families from leaving.
According to reports, the Guatemalan authorities detained a number of the group’s members who hold American citizenship.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)