Haaretz reports this morning about a court case involving two young veiled girls from Beit Shemesh. The article contains many details about the group they belong to, which is known internally as “Lev Tahor” (pure heart). Maybe the press will finally stop calling them Taliban women.
The two girls were sent by their parents to an outpost of the group near Montreal. The grandmother’s brother filed a petition arguing that their welfare would be harmed because they would be married against their will. The Israeli court agreed to hear the petition. Canadian officials greeted the girls at the airport, and they were eventually escorted back to Israel by Canadian police.
The article contains background details:
The leader of the Lev Tahor community calls himself Shlomo Elbarnes. From Jerusalem’s Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, this charismatic figure began forming extremist Orthodox groups in the United States some 20 years ago. His followers are said to heed his authority entirely.
Elbarnes brought his followers to Canada after U.S. authorities expelled him due to charges that he coercively asserted control over a 13-year-old minor. Elbarnes settled with his group outside of Montreal, where they are said to be fervently religious, holding prayer services that last nearly the entire day.
Rituals of the Lev Tahor community reportedly involve lashing anyone considered a “sinner,” and sending 14-year-old girls to the wedding canopy.