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Arrest of the "runaway father" extended, mother released to house arrest

Parents of six children trapped in Jordan when they tried to join the Lev Tahor cult brought before a judge, and refused to be represented by attorney • Judge: "risked their children's lives, although they do not understand it"
Yoel Koritz, B'Chadrei Charedim, י"ז סיון תשע"ג 26/05/2013 13:02

בני המשפחה בגבול. צילום: רש"ת רש"ת

Runaway family case: Eilat Magistrate's Court today extended (Friday) the suspect's arrest, along with his wife for trying on Wednesday night to flee along with their six children from their homes in Beit Shemesh via Jordan to Canada to join the Lev Tahor cult.

His detention was extended until Sunday – when he will be indicted. The mother was released under restrictive conditions.

Although various public defenders were brought to represent the father and mother of the children, they rejected and asked to represent themselves. The father explained that he knows the case well: "For judgment I prefer to represent myself." His wife said: "I want what my husband says."

Judge Lior Bringer explained to the suspects: "This is not a game of scrabble, and people are sometimes mistaken to think that they can represent themselves in the same quality as a professional." Despite the explanations the father replied that he insists on representing himself and his wife.

A police representative told the hearing that the investigation material relates the parent's to the Lev Tahor cult. The father did not deny that his ties with the cult are good, but insisted that if he did not say that he plans on going to Canada during the investigation - it does not have to be written against him.

"I acted under motives which were safety of my children and my wife," he said to the judge. "When we received exit delayed orders the aim was to preserve human dignity and liberty, and right here is where one operates against human dignity and freedom.

"Abuse of people attracting some of their clothing and so forth. I'm not a criminal. I want together with my wife to go out and be with my family. Since in any case the family is isolated, then the usefulness and power given by two parents at home - is much greater from someone that is part of the society."

The mother who is also suspected in the smuggling attempt said: "We cannot be here. It is impossible with outlook. On one hand they are rejected and on the other you keep them. Why should children get punched for what they are wearing?"

Judge Bringer determined at the hearing: "suspected risked their six children with real danger, even though they probably do not realize it or have a different worldview."

In his words, he did express his opinion on the view of the couple's life, but stated that the attempt to flee Israel to a cult in Canada is incorrect. "From life experiences we learn that, for example in Tel Aviv people live with different world views and sometimes strange, Haredim of various types, with different views completely and all walks of life, and somehow the city of Tel Aviv accepts them and they continue to lead their lives according to their ideology."

The mother was fully released to house arrest and was forbidden to leave the country or try to get her children out.

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