Neturei Karta

This is from an email I wrote to a friend about some photos depicting clearly ultra-orthodox Jews happily meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, the President of Iran.

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Photos like these are actually pretty well known. Most ultra-Orthodox or Haredi (whether Hasidic, followers of the Lithuanian Yeshivah tradition, or Sephardic) have always opposed Zionism and the secular Jewish state, but they do not support harm coming to Jews.  Many of these have by now compromised (such as Agudat Israel and Shas and Hasidic groups such as Lubavitch), working with the Israeli state even though they oppose it in principle.  Among the Haredi, however, there is a particularly fanatic, right-wing group who goes beyond their opposition to the state of Israel by advocating for Israel’s destruction and who support violence against Israelis and against Jews who actively support the state of Israel.  They actually virulently oppose other Haredi who work with the Israeli state, back Ahmadenijad, give credence to Ahmadenijad’s holocaust denial (in part because they believe that many of the Jews murdered in the holocaust were not “real” Jews), and embrace Ahmadenijad’s threats of violence against Israel.  The group is called Neturei Karta (“Guardians of the City”), whose members live in various places around the world, most notably in  Meah Shearim in Jerusalem. Ahmadenijad has been photographed with them before.  See the following links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/nyregion/15rabbi.html?fta=y
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neturei_Karta

Neturei Karta is radically isolated and cultish, the most extreme of the extreme.  In short, they’re crazy.

P.S. There is an Israeli film called “Kadosh,” which gives a glimpse at the lives of ultra-Orthodox groups like Neturei Karta in Meah Shearim.

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DR. LAURENCE H. KANT (LARRY KANT), MYSTIC SCHOLAR: Engaged Mysticism and Scholarship in the Pursuit of Wisdom; Discovering meaning in every issue and facet of life; Integrating scholarship, spirituality, mysticism, poetry, community, economics, and politics seamlessly. Historian of Religion: Ph.D., Yale University, 1993 (Department of Religious Studies); Exchange Scholar, Harvard University, Rabbinics, 1983-84; M.A., 1982, Yale, 1982 (Department of Religious Studies); M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School, 1981; B.A., Classics (Greek and Latin), Tufts University, 1978; Wayland High School (Wayland, MA), 1974. Served on the faculty of Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), York University (Toronto), and Lexington Theological Seminary (Lexington, KY). Works in many languages: Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, English, French, Italian, German, Modern Greek (some Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish). Holder of numerous honors and awards, including The Rome Prize in Classics (Prix de Rome) and Fellow of the American Academy of Rome.
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