'Rabbi's assailant is leader of cult'

Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2000

An esoteric cult has sprung up among fringe members of the Habad organization, the haredi newspaper "Hadshot Hamishpaha" reports.

The leader of the cult is Meir Baranes who is being held on charges of attemtping to kill the chief rabbi of Safed. Baranes said he wanted to kill the rabbi for not recognizing the Lubbavitcher rabbi as the Messiah.

According to the report, there are some one dozen members of the cult, not all of them in Safed. They have variously threatened other rabbis and members of their families.

The cult members are reportedly all newly religious.

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