Lev Tahor haredi group leaves Guatemalan town after threats

Members of Lev Tahor leaving San Juan la Laguna in Guatemala. Credit: YouTube Screenshot.

(JNS.org) About 200 members of the controversial Haredi sect Lev Tahor (“Pure Heart” in Hebrew) have left a Guatemalan village where they had settled in search of religious freedom after clashes with the local population. 

The community on Friday left San Juan la Laguna, a town about 93 miles west of Guatemala City where they had lived since March after arriving from Canada. The group faced verbal abuse, threats of expulsion, and threats of having their electricity cut off from other residents in the town, reported Reuters.

The town's Elders Council voted to force the group to leave last week, accusing members of the sect of mistreating the local population and tourists in the area.

Lev Tahor is viewed by some as a cult due to practices such as controversial methods of mind control, violence, and underage marriage. The group also rejects the state of Israel because it views the Jews as a people who must live in exile.

Posted on August 30, 2014 .