Saturday, October 8, 2011

Canada - Jewish Burqa Cult and Haredim In Israel

The Globe And Mail is reporting on a the deportation of two young Israeli women, who seem to be members of the Burqa cult. I'm not 100% convinced this is the infamous Beit Shemesh "Burqa Cult" Aka as the Jewish Taliban - mostly because to the best of my knowledge the Beit Shemesh cult does not have a rabbinic leader as this article suggests, nor have I previously heard the name "Lev Tahor". My own guess is that this is a separate though similar cult:

It is an enclave of ultra-Orthodoxy in the midst of the Laurentian mountains of Quebec, and its family practices have sparked an international tug-of-war with Israel.
Lev Tahor, a community of religious Jews on the edge of the forest north of Montreal, has carried on largely away from the glare of public scrutiny for years. Women and even little girls dress head to toe in chador-like veils and marry as young as the age of 16. Residents have limited contact with outsiders.

But now the Hasidic sect in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts has become the focus of attention since two teenaged girls headed here were stopped by Canadian authorities and sent back home.
The girls, aged 15 and 13, were forcibly detained by Canadian immigration officials in Montreal and returned to Israel apparently under order of an Israeli court.
The girls’ great-uncle had petitioned for the writ out of concern that the girls would be harmed by the group in Canada, that their property would be taken, and that they could be forced to wed male members of the Lev Tahor sect. In Israel, the sect is sometimes called the Jewish Taliban because of the way the women dress.
The spiritual leader of Lev Tahor in Canada, Rabbi Shlomo Elbarnes, opened his study to a journalist on Wednesday to deny that he is coercing anyone to come to his community. He insisted anyone is free to leave. 
I suggest you read the whole article which is very interesting. Other than the story itself, I was amused by the writer's description of Haredim and Israel:

Even in Israel, where almost everyone wears black, the “Taliban women,” as they are called, stand out. They are not popular.
I guess I must be an exception to the "almost everyone" wearing black.

While Hasidic men, noted for their curled sidelocks, dress in black suits and formal black hats, and Hasidic women wear black head scarves, black skirts, black stockings and black shawls over white and grey tops, in Israel the women of Lev Tahor are dressed totally in black, including their faces.

Needless to say while black is a popular colour in Hasidic circles, this description of women clothing is false.

Some of the comments are also interesting:

10:52 PM on October 5, 2011
"Jewish women were covered in this way long before Muslim women. “They copied it from us,” the literature says."

It's like a race for the title of world's most extreme...and an example of how Canada tolerates way too many 'religious freedoms'.

1:47 AM on October 6, 2011
Just when you think the world couldn't possibly be any weirder....
...along come the Jewish Taliban...

JDonston2:18 AM on October 6, 2011
This sect doesn't have much respect for men, does it? If they believe that even catching a glimpse of a woman makes a man completely lose control of himself, it sounds like they have a very poor opinion of men and their basic competency.

This last comment is actually spot on. Sadly it might be correct not just about the sect, but on large parts of the "tznius" movement.

For those of you wondering how this deranged Rabbi got "Refugee status" in Canada, here is the Immigration board  ruling.

[17]            As mentioned by the Board, the evidence revealed that the respondent believes and teaches that the existence of the State of Israel is an insult to the teachings of the Torah (the Bible); that the State must cease to exist because it should not have become a nation before the coming of the Messiah; that Arab domination of the land must be accepted by Jews and that they must leave Israel or perish.
[18]            Given the State relation with Arabic citizens and given the fact that the respondent preached that the Arab domination must be accepted, I understand why the Board concluded that state protection would not be available. After carefully looking at the evidence adduced, I cannot conclude that the Board committed a patently unreasonable error in concluding that even though Israel is a democratic country that the Israeli government would not have offered protection to the respondent. His religious belief and opinion are against the mere existence of Israel as an independent country

In other words - he had to be protected because he preached anti zionist propaganda. This is nonsense - Israel is full of AntiZionists even in the knesset. It does however strengthen my view that this is not the "Jewish Taliban" sect. The Burqa cult does not seem to have an Anti-Zionist agenda.  

(HT: AmotherinIsrael
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