By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Israel has prevented dozens of Jewish families of the ultra-Orthodox sect Lev Tahor from fleeing to Iran amid fears they could be used as bargaining chips by Tehran, Worthy News learned Friday.
The supposedly anti-Zionist group applied for political asylum in 2018, several Israeli sources confirmed.
Documents were reportedly presented at a US federal court in 2019, showing that leaders of the Hasidic community requested asylum in Iran and swore allegiance to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The well-informed Ynet News site said concerns were building that “hundreds of group members,” mainly based in Guatemala, could be trying to move to Iran.
Dozens of families were spotted at the airport in Guatemala, apparently on their way to the Kurdistan-Iran border.
That worried their relatives, who contacted the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Justice Department to prevent the families from reaching Iran.
“The Shalit deal will look like child’s play next to this,” the relatives said in published remarks.
They referred to a 2011 prisoner deal with militant group Hamas in which Israel released 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit.
Israeli authorities contacted their Guatemalan authorities, who detained several of the group’s members who hold American citizenship.
Relatives fear the Jewish families could be used as bargaining chips by Iran, where the Islamic leadership seeks the destruction of Israel.
Tehran has also been accused by Israel of developing nuclear weapons, charges Tehran denies.
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