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Neturei Karta, the Zionist presence and the occupation of Palestine

December 20, 2023 at 11:13 am

Men from the anti-Zionist Haredi Jewish group Neturei Karta, or Guardians of the City, at a protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza on December 9, 2023 in London, UK [Andy Soloman/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images]

In light of the escalating events in the Gaza Strip since 7 October, a Jewish group called Neturei Karta condemned what the Israelis are doing and supported the people of the Strip in their defence of their rights. As a result, some of its members have been assaulted by Israeli soldiers.

Jewish Rabbi David Wise, the group’s spokesman, expressed on 20 October his “strong denunciation of the practices of the Israeli occupation army in Palestine”, he stressed that his group opposes Zionism in all its forms, organises demonstrations against “the Israeli occupation, and seeks to build bridges of reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.”

The Neturei Karta is a Jewish religious group that was founded in 1935. It opposes Zionism and calls for the removal of or the peaceful end of the Israeli entity, and the return of the land to the Palestinians.

Convinced that the Jews are prevented from having a state of their own until the coming of Christ, the followers of this group are based in Jerusalem, London and New York. The literal meaning of their name is “Guardians of the City”.

READ: Israel investigates Neturei Karta visit to Jenin camp

The followers of this school of thought focus on rabbinic literature, which states that because of the sins of the Jews, they were expelled from the Land of Israel. They also consider, based on the Babylonian Talmud, that any attempt to recover the Land of Israel by force is immoral, they believe that the restoration of the “state” of Israel will take place only when the Messiah comes, Rabbi Moshe Hirsch acknowledged that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is the legitimate and legal leader of the State of Palestine, which includes what is known as the state of Israel.

Most of the followers of this sect are of Hungarian origins who settled in the Old City of Jerusalem at the beginning of the nineteenth century, as well as Lithuanian Jews who were students there.

This sect stood contrary to the new policies emanating from Zionism, which aimed to achieve sovereignty for the Jews over the land of Palestine, which was under Ottoman rule.

We are crying with Palestinians: Jewish anti-Zionist groupAmong their arguments against this idea were Talmudic discussions regarding passages in the Torah that related to an agreement between their God, the Jewish people, and the nations of the world that occurred when the Jews were exiled. The agreement states:

– The Jews must not revolt against the non-Jewish peoples who gave them safety and shelter, as is the case when the Ottoman Empire allowed them to have delegations and residence in Palestine.

– Jews should not make mass migrations to Palestine. In return, the agreement stipulates that non-Jewish nations promise not to cruelly persecute Jews.

Their opposition to the State of Israel and Zionism continued under the leadership of their Rabbi, Amram Blue. This sect refuses to pay taxes to the State of Israel as they do not recognise it. This sect has reached the point where they do not accept touching any paper currency or cash bearing images and slogans of Zionism.

Members of this sect do not approach the Buraq (Western) Wall, as they believe that it has been desecrated by the Zionists and their interests, while the leader of this sect served as Minister of Jewish Affairs during the era of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Two members of this community participated in praying for Arafat in Paris, France, and Rabbi Moshe Hirsch also participated in his funeral.

Chief Rabbi of Neturei Karta: If you want to help the Jewish people … withdraw your ambassador

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.