JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Yoel Levy, former member of Lev Tahor, revealed stunning new details about the death of cult leader Shlomo Helbrans, as well as the events leading up to it.Join our WhatsApp group
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Mr. Levy, who escaped the cult, described to B’Chadrei Charedim how the 2017 drowning took place, and how the cult fled Guatemala on Shabbos. He said that Helbrans feared that he would be caught imminently, so they fled in the middle of the night. They traveled 15 hours on Shabbos to Mexico, with Helbrans claiming it was “pikuach nefesh”, since “Zionists and American authorities” were after him.
The Friday of Helbrans’ death, a few weeks after they arrived in Mexico, he immersed in the river before Shabbos, clutching a rope that was held by his Gabbai standing at the river bank.
Mr. Levy described the dramatic scene, saying, “There was a high tide because of heavy rains, they knew it was dangerous, so they gave him a rope. Shlomo moved very far away, and the Gabbai suddenly discovered that no one was holding the other side.”
He said that the Gabbai, Chaim Azaria Alter, had been Shlomo’s right-hand man.
Cult members joined a local rescue team to search for the body up and down the river. They were afraid that it had been swept out to sea and lost forever, however the body got stuck in a bush with rocks, where it was recovered.
Yoel, age 16 at the time, explained the cult decided it was safe to return to Guatemala, because they realized that they were not in any danger. After returning, Shlomo’s son Nachman took over as cult leader. He added, “Nachman was much more extreme than his father.”
Several weeks ago, Yoel’s brother Mendy described the horrific death of Shlomo’s 24 year old daughter Miriam, who suffered an allergic reaction to sesame, caused by Nachman.
Nachman is currently in custody in the U.S. for child abduction and other serious charges.