Lev Tahor cult survivor rescues son, brings him to Israel amid arrests

Israel Amir's rescue mission was in the works ever since the former member escaped the cult in Guatemala some three years ago.

 Members of a Jewish community stand on a street in the village of San Juan La Laguna August 24, 2014 (photo credit: JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS)
Members of a Jewish community stand on a street in the village of San Juan La Laguna August 24, 2014
(photo credit: JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS)

Israel Amir, an Israeli survivor of the Lev Tahor haredi (ultra-Orthodox) cult who escaped the sect some three years ago successfully rescued his son from Mexico as local authorities raided and arrested sect members on Tuesday.

The Mexican raid, carried out in a migration control facility in southern Mexico where the Lev Tahor sect was based, saw members of 17 Jewish families belonging to the extremist sect arrested.

Amir's rescue mission, which was first reported by N12, was in the making for a while, with the sect survivor working on a plan to bring his son to Israel ever since he escaped Lev Tahor in Guatemala three years ago.

How Amir's Lev Tahor rescue plan unfolded

According to N12, he reportedly worked with former Mossad agents to gather intelligence on the cult and figure out a way to save his son amid concerning revelations that have been made.

 Members of a Jewish community are seen through a stained-glass door in the village of San Juan La Laguna August 24, 2014 (credit: JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS) Members of a Jewish community are seen through a stained-glass door in the village of San Juan La Laguna August 24, 2014 (credit: JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS)

These revelations included reports of child abuse and neglect of the children with photos of children in cages reaching Amir's team

It was also crucial for Amir to bring his son back before the sect follows through on revealed plans to relocate to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Last year, an official letter was sent by the leaders of Lev Tahor in which they declared "loyalty and surrender" and requested "cooperation against the Zionist rule."

The Israeli families of the cult members were deeply concerned by this development since the Lev Tahor members would likely be used as bargaining chips by Iran against Israel or be publicly murdered to send a message if they were to find their way to Tehran.

Israel Amir's dream 'came true this Rosh Hashanah'

Amir, who was followed by N12 in his mission to rescue his son, said on Tuesday morning that he will now look to "build my new life as a young father in Israel."

"From the moment I escaped, I only had one dream: To save my son from the nightmare of living in a cult," he told N12, speaking from Ben-Gurion Airport where he was landed with his son.

"I am now looking forward to building my new life as a young father in Israel"

Lev Tahor cult survivor Israel Amir

"I could not abandon him to live a life of viciously strict rules, mind control, hunger and misery," Amir said. "The dream came true this Rosh Hashanah."