But it gets better:
"In a precedent-setting move, an Israeli court is expected to decide next week whether it is legal to belong to the extreme ultra-Orthodox group Lev Tahor, known as 'the Taliban sect.' ... The Jerusalem court's ruling will have implications for all members of the Taliban sect in Israel. Should the court find that it is illegal to belong to the community, social welfare agencies will be able to take immediate steps to remove children from the control of parents who are affiliated with Lev Tahor."
We read further,
"The two [daughters] were forcibly returned to Israel on Sunday under an order issued by the court."Oh, great, the Israeli government is abducting young girls now. As if the government weren't totalitarian enough.
"Bringing the Beit Shemesh sisters back to Israel was an international operation, involving the foreign ministry and Interpol. The goal of the operation was to stop the pair from entering the ultra-Orthodox community in Canada."So now, the Israeli government will not only try to stop you from leaving the country, but they will even send agents after you to return you to Israel! Not for committing any crimes (as no trial has been held yet, nor have the parents even been accused of any crimes themselves other than belonging to a certain sect that has not yet been outlawed), but just because the government doesn't want you to leave.
Yes, that's right: not only can the government declare a sect illegal, without giving individual due process to the members, but it can confiscate your children as well. So now the government decides not only which sects get money, but which sects are allowed to exist???!!! The article claims that parents in this sect abuse their children, but if so, put the parents on trial! But to outlaw a religious sect per se, without giving due process to the individual members, is simply totalitarian. That is what terrifies me: that the government can define an entire sect - irrespective of its individual members' conduct - as illegal, without due process. You might be doing nothing criminal, but all you have to do is be defined as a sect that is illegal - without trial! - and the Israeli government will abduct you from across the world.
So granted the girls might have Stockholm's Syndrome and need protection. I do not deny that. Perhaps the girls really do need protection from their parents. But the idea of accusing and trying and convicting a sect, and never giving the individual people a trial, terrifies me. Imagine if the government decided that certain Orthodox Jews are a danger, and so held a trial for "Orthodox Judaism", in the abstract, and convicted every Orthodox Jew at once. Or, for example, I am an anarcho-capitalist, which basically makes me a conservative anarchist, who wants to privatize and deregulate everything - including the police and military - but in a very stable, conservative, tentative fashion, not through vigilante force, but through persuasion and legislation. By contrast, there are anarcho-socialists, anarchists who believe (or, at least, traditionally believed, in the late-19th-century) in "propaganda through the deed", in committing terrorist acts of violence, and in dispossessing the capitalists of their property and redistributing it the poor. (Today's anarcho-socialists often disavow "propaganda of the deed", i.e. terrorism, but they still believe in socialistic confiscation of wealth.) Obviously, both have little in common, but both are "anarchists". What if the government held a trial for "anarchism" in the abstract, and convicted every living anarchist - of every stripe and persuasion? That is the danger I fear: of trying the whole sect and dragging innocent parents into a net they do not deserve to be in. I say, the individuals must be accorded due process.
Also, there is something else fishy in the article:
Rituals of the Lev Tahor community reportedly involve ... sending 14-year-old girls to the wedding canopy.Now wait, what is the problem with that? Even if the government holds that such marriages are not binding, what crime has anyone committed? It doesn't sound like the parents are compelling the girls to marry; the article said "sending", which implies the girls are going willingly. That is, the parents are "sending" the daughters to be married, but it is the daughters themselves who consent to the marriages. Even if one holds that such marriages are invalid, it doesn't sound like the parents have done anything criminal. If the parents of a 14 year old send their child to the store to buy alcohol, then obviously, the liquor store will refuse to sell to them, but merely sending your child on this errand to buy alcohol under-age is not illegal. (At least, as far as I know.) In fact, while halakhah does permit a man to marry off his underage daughter, "underage" means prepubescent. (The Talmud says that for a father to do this, while permissible, is nevertheless evil.) After that age, when a girl has reached puberty, it is literally impossible in halakhah for a marriage to be conducted without the woman's consent; for the marriage to be religiously valid, she must express her explicit consent to marry. So if the Lev Tahor sect really believes in halakhah, then they ipso facto must be letting their daughters consent. Thus, apparently, while the parents are sending their daughters off on the errand to be married, it is the daughters themselves who are ultimately responsible for their own (underage) marriages. One might say that the daughters are not old enough to consent to this marriage, and that the marriage is therefore null-and-void (from the state's perspective) but that doesn't mean the parents compelled them, the same way that sending a 14 year old on an errand to buy alcohol will be fruitless, but not illegal.
But maybe you say that Lev Tahor pressures their daughters in some way? I admit this is quite likely. And the article says,
[T]hey [viz. the daughters] would be compelled to wed male members of the cult.But somehow, I doubt they put guns to their daughters' heads and force them. I suspect that Haaretz is confusing strong cultural and societal and familial censure and pressure, with actual coercion. Suppose my mother told me that if I marry a gentile, she'll disown me. Is she forcing me to marry a Jew? No. She is merely exerting strong moral pressure. But there is no gun to my head. I suspect that Haaretz is failing to make this distinction, and so I suspect that the whole (implied) accusation - that the parents force their daughters to marry against their wills - is false. I suspect that while the parents send their daughters on the errand to be married, and maybe even exert very strong familial pressure, that the parents nevertheless do not use force to compel their daughters.
Plus, I simply don't trust the government's claim that it is protecting the girls from abuse (which I admit is a legitimate function of government). Why should I believe they have good intentions in this? The government claims the goal is to protect the girls, but I suspect the goal is to corral us all into a country-sized concentration camp. Why I am so suspicious that this is all a pretext to tighten Israel's borders against emigration? Let us look back at the article:
A decision reached this week by a family court in Rishon Letzion indicates that a ruling on Lev Tahor's legality is imminent. The decision follows what appears to be the conclusion of an international family drama involving two sisters from Beit Shemesh who belong to the Taliban sect. The two were forcibly returned to Israel on Sunday under an order issued by the court. The sisters, 13 and 15, were en route to a Lev Tahor village located on the outskirts of Montreal, Canada. ... The Jerusalem court's ruling will have implications for all members of the Taliban sect in Israel. ... The community was established about a decade ago.In other words, the court decided to try the sect only after the parents already left the country! That is, it is not that the parents were indicted of a crime before they left Israel, and now the Israeli government is just bringing them to trial. No, the government waited until after the parents left the country to begin the indictment. Why did the government wait? If Lev Tahor is so dangerous, shouldn't the government have already indicted them long before the parents left the country? Why did the government wait until after the parents left? It seems that the government is troubled not by Lev Tahor per se, but only by their emigration. If they would just stay in Israel, the government would do nothing. "The community was established about a decade ago", but the government waits until now, when the parents try to leave the country, to do anything about it. What took so long? No matter how you cut this, the government is guilty: either innocents have been abducted for the sake of closing Israel's borders to emigration, or else the government has waited a decade to do anything about people who are (probably, pending trial to confirm) guilty of abusing minors.
Ron Paul put it well recently: speaking of illegal Mexican immigration, he said that one should be terribly afraid that the fences to keep Mexicans out, will be used to keep Americans in. See the 7 September 2011 GOP debate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esp-ruhkZqQ):
"Every time you think about this toughness on the border and ID cards and REAL IDs, think it’s a penalty against the American people too. I think this fence business is designed and may well be used against us and keep us in. In economic turmoil, the people want to leave with their capital and there’s capital controls and there’s people controls. Every time you think about the fence, think about the fences being used against us, keeping us in." (transcript via http://www.infowars.com/ron-paul-border-fence-could-be-used-to-keep-us-in/).
The United States is actually sending agents around the world to capture Americans who live outside America and have foreign bank accounts they have not reported to the IRS. In some cases, the children of American citizens elsewhere in the world, don't even know they're American citizens, and the American government comes after them. In one case, a family of Canadians who didn't even know they were American citizens, were prosecuted by America for hundreds of thousands of dollars for unreported bank accounts and unpaid taxes. (See Wendy McElroy, "The Attack on Accidental Americans", http://mises.org/daily/5666.) I suspect Israel is going for the same thing. The first step for any totalitarian government is to find a good scapegoat, and sell it as protecting the public. "The child abusers are extraditing their children." Yes, and with that, the government has gotten the ball rolling.
In Spain, we said it couldn't happen. It did. In Germany, we said it couldn't happen. It did. Why should Israel be any different?
Think I'm exaggerating? Let us look at history. In 2005, the Israeli government sent 10,000 police to confront 4,000 protesters. Yes, you read that correctly: there were 2.5 police officers for every protester. And what did the police do? MK Aryeh Eldad, former IDF Chief Medical Officer, testifies that the police would bludgeon people on their heads until they were unconscious, and then continue to bludgeon them further:
("INN - Girls Beaten at Amona עמונה": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ_8JSr2eZ0)
The police also corralled a group of girls onto a rooftop, where the girls had no way of escape, and they proceeded to beat the girls:
("עמונה Amona - Police Assault on Teen Girls on Roof": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Oq91Uv1JV0)
Here is a news program, with more footage:
("עמונה Amona - News Report on Police Pogrom מתנחלים": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDh85y7vM9)
That is what the Israeli government is all about.
(By the way, what's with the editorializing throughout the article? "Taliban sect"? That's not objective fact! To compare them to the Taliban in an opinion piece would be (technically) fine, but not in a news article! At one point, the article says, known as 'the Taliban sect', but for the rest of the article, they are referred to as the Taliban sect, without quotation marks. The intent is obviously to scare readers with baseless invective. )