This week our Editor in Chief, Catherine Shakdam had the pleasure to discuss developments in Gaza with a prominent scholar and religious authority, Rabbi Meir Hirsch. Leader of Neturei Karta, a Jewish Orthodox community based in Al Quds – Jerusalem – Rabbi Hirsch has long resisted Zionism and the narrative of hatred which accompany its nefarious footsteps.

A voice of reason, a voice for peace it is men such as him who stand a testimony that amid an ocean of madness and hatred stand a few righteous souls.

A voice of reason, a voice for peace, it is men such as him who stands a testimony that Palestine will never stand alone.

“Remember the days of old, understand the years of past generations. Ask your father and he will relate it to you, your elders and they will tell you.” – Deut. 32:7

Leaders of Neturei Karta with Palestinian PM Ismail Haneyeh
Leaders of Neturei Karta with Palestinian PM Ismail Haneyeh

THE LEVANT – Rabbi Hirsch you recently wrote an open letter in which you denounce Israel’s attack on Gaza. You wrote, “We Jewish Holocaust survivors implore enlightened world leaders to immediately stop the genocide of the Palestinian people. Evil Zionists bombard day and night buildings full of innocent men, women and children and burn them alive.” Can you please elaborate on the following term – Zionist – ?

RABBI HIRSCH – Let me begin to say this, so that you can understand from the onset what it is what Neturei Karta wants to achieve. We want see the end of the Zionist tragedy and the restoration of peace to the Middle East. For this many minds must be changed, many patterns must be broken.

We pray to the Almighty to bring about the speedy and peaceful dismantlement of the Zionist state, and ultimately, to bring the world to the final redemption, when all of mankind will join in serving Him in peace, amen.

It is very important to clearly make a distinction in between Judaism and Zionism. Even though the two terms have been used so interchangeably in modern days to the point where they have become synonyms, Judaism and Zionism are as foreign to each other as day and night, good and evil.

As Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss once said, “History is invariably written by those who emerge victorious from its struggles.” It is because Zionists emerged victorious in 1948 that history of not only Palestine but the Jewish people and Judaism has been re-written and perverted.

If Zionists have been successful so far in lying to the world, manipulating politicians and nations through violent and coercive methods, Zionists’ house of cards stand on a lie which one day will bring it down.

Neturei Karta International has always been in the forefront of those voices that have been raised in opposition to Zionism.

To understand Zionism let me first define Judaism. Judaism is the faith of the Jewish people. It is rooted in the revelation at Sinai where the Torah was given by G-d to man. The doctrines and laws there revealed to the Jewish people are forever binding. Throughout the centuries Jewish scholars and saints have explained the Law. Those explanations are also part of our tradition. This definition of Judaism was universally accepted by the Jewish people until the dawn of the so called Enlightenment in Europe. In the wake of that mass abandonment of G-d, many Jews, as well as many Christians and Muslims around the world, came to reject their faiths.

It was in the spirit of creating a man – made religion that movements such as Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism were born. These movements had in common that they rejected some, many or all the basics of Torah faith.

One of the central tenets of Torah is that the Creator rewards and punishes mankind. And, it is here, my friends, in those Old Testament prophesies, that the quarrel between Judaism and Zionism begins. Eventually the horrors foretold by the Prophets came to pass. Jewry was exiled from the Land. The first exile, also known as the Babylonian captivity, lasted only 70 years. By a series of miraculous events the people were returned to the land. This second entry into the land led to the rebuilding of the Temple. The Second Temple stood from about 2500 years ago until about 1900 years ago, then it too was destroyed. This time the cause was once again the backsliding of the people who were, as always, held to a very demanding Divine standard.

But the prophecies of doom were accompanied with promises of consolation. The exile would not be forever. There would be years of dispersion, many of them endured under persecution. Yet, there was the promise that the people would yet return to the Land. But this return was not to be under human control. It would be heralded by the advent of Elijah the Prophet and accompanied with many miracles. And, this time, the redemption would not just be for the Jewish people but, rather for all men. All nations would cease to practice war. All would rejoice together in the Creator’s care. There would be no want or physical deprivation. It would be a time of spiritual brotherhood, all men united in Divine service.

Thus, at the burning of the Second Temple, the Jewish people were sent into an exile which extends till today. For two thousand years Jews have prayed for the end of their exile and the accompanying redemption of the entire world.

They were taught by the Prophets and subsequent Sages that their exile was an expiation of their sins. This meant that the only reasonable and permissible path to end the exile were repentance and prayer.

To suggest that one could use political or military means to escape the Creator’s decree was seen as heresy, as a denial of the Divine stewardship over sin and forgiveness. And, so, as the centuries rolled by the Jewish people prayed and awaited the miraculous events of redemption. Throughout these long years no Jew anywhere suggested – and this among a people that studied its sacred texts constantly and wrote about them voluminously – that exile could be ended by human means.

Theodore Herzl and a handful of others, all ignorant or non-observant of Torah were those who first suggested that men should do what G-d chose not to, commanded not to.

These early Zionists were immediately opposed by the Rabbinic leadership of that era.

The opposition was based on four assumptions:

1) The very concept of Zionism was a refutation of the traditional Torah belief in exile as punishment and redemption and as dependant on penitence and Divine intervention.

2) The Zionists were overwhelmingly irreligious. There claim to represent the Jewish people before the world was preposterous. How can those who reject Judaism be Jewish leaders? Their natural instincts were to uproot Torah and its observance.

3) Zionism was woefully unconcerned about non – Jews in general and the Palestinian people already living in the land. Its heavy – handed policies were sure to cause much pain and suffering and lead world Jewry into needless conflict with the nations of the world.

4) Zionism would cause Jews to be less than loyal to the governments under whose auspices they lived in exile. This might weaken Jewish patriotism and exacerbate Jewish – Gentile conflicts.

Of course, in the Torah view the very notion of Jewish sovereignty of any kind over the Holy Land is forbidden. We note that even those who desired some degree of Jewish return – saw this – provided they had some basic decency, as something that had to be worked out with the approval of the native Palestinian people.

THE LEVANT – Neturei Karta, means “guardian of the city” if I’m not mistaken, can you please tell our readers about your movement and what goals you seek to achieve?

RABBI HIRSCH – Neturei Karta opposed the establishment of and retain all opposition to the existence of the so-called “State of Israel”!

The name Neturei-Karta originates from an incident in which R. Yehudah Ha-Nassi (Rabbi Judah the Prince) sent R. Hiyya and R. Ashi on a pastoral tour of inspection. In one town they asked to see the “guardians of the city” and the city guard was paraded before them. They said that these were not the guardians of the city but its destroyers, which prompted the citizens to ask who, then, could be considered the guardians. The rabbis answered, “The scribes and the scholars,” referring them to Tehillim (Psalms) Chap. 127. (Jerusalem Talmud, Tractate Hagiga. 76c).

The name was given to a group of Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem who refused (and still refuse) to recognize the existence or authority of the so-called “State of Israel” and made (and still make) a point of publicly demonstrating their position, the position of the Torah and authentic unadulterated Judaism.

The group was founded in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1938, splitting off from Agudas Yisroel. Agudas Yisroel was established in 1912 for the purpose of fighting Zionism. Gradually lured by money and honor they sold out to the “Golden-Calf” (see Exodus, XXXII) of Zionism. Those who wanted to maintain their faith and continue the struggle against Zionism, dissociated themselves from Agudas Yisroel and associated parties.

Over the years, a number of Neturei Karta activists and followers settled outside of Palestine. Some of the reasons that these individuals abandoned the country in which they and their families had lived for many generations (having lived there many years prior to the establishment of the illegitimate so-called “State of Israel”) include; ideological refusal to live under the illegitimate heretical “Israeli” regime, their being exiled by the Zionist government for their insistence of remaining independent of the illegitimate heretical regime or them being unable to live a normal family life due to them and their families being persistently harassed, repeatedly incarcerated and many times even physically tortured by the Zionist police and agents. This dispersion resulted in the emergence of various Neturei Karta establishments on the broader international scene. These establishments include synagogues, educational institutions, publishing houses and organizations. The establishments in New York include three synagogues in Brooklyn (Boro Park and Williamsburg), three upstate, and organizations include the Friends of Jerusalem in NY, NY.

Neturei Karta is not – as is often alleged – a small sect or an extremist group of “ultra-orthodox” Jews. The Neturei Karta have added nothing to nor have they taken anything away from the written and oral law of the Torah as it is expressed in the Halacha and the Shulchan Aruch. The Neturei Karta are fighting the changes and inroads made by political Zionism during the past one-hundred odd years. Guided by the rabbis of our time and under the inspiring leadership of the late Reb Amram Blau, the Neturei Karta refuses to recognize the right of anyone to establish a “Jewish” state during the present period of exile.

There are those who wish to play down the Neturei Karta and its’ Torah-true beliefs. This has been attempted many a time by stating that the Neturei Karta is a minority group and that compared to other Jewish groups the Neturei Karta aren’t even noticeable in terms of number.

The number of Orthodox Jews who believe in the anti-Zionist ideology which Neturei Karta is known for number in the hundreds of thousands.


Rabbi hirsh

THE LEVANT– This new war on Gaza has generated strong responses on all sides. Israel has been accused of looking to annihilate Palestine to serve its Zionist ambition. Many analysts have even argued that such plan was hatched well over a century ago. What is your understanding of the matter and where do you stand?

RABBI HIRSCH – I will refer you to the words of Theodor Herzl, the forefather of Zionism. He best can describe the heresy and purpose which animates this movement.

“It would be an excellent idea to call in respectable, accredited anti-Semites as liquidators of property. To the people they would vouch for the fact that we do not wish to bring about the impoverishment of the countries that we leave. At first they must not be given large fees for this; otherwise we shall spoil our instruments and make them despicable as ‘stooges of the Jews.’ Later their fees will increase, and in the end we shall have only Gentile officials in the countries from which we have emigrated.

The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.” – Theodor Herzl.

Zionists have worked for over a century to bring about the horrors we see today.

But Zionists have not only declared war on Palestine … but on the true keepers of Jewish tradition as well. Vladimir Jobotinsky said, “In the national home we will announce that those Jews who have on themselves the rust of exile, and refuse to shave off their beards and earlocks, will be second class citizens and will not have the right to vote.”

THE LEVANT – Do you feel that Israel has betrayed Judaism by advocating bloodshed and enticing hatred? Can you please explain to our readers the tenets by which you live by?

RABBI HIRSCH – Jews are not allowed to dominate, kill, harm or demean another people and are not allowed to have anything to do with the Zionist enterprise, their political meddling and their wars.

Neturei Karta forbids any participation with the so-called “State of Israel” or any of its subsidiaries. Neturei Karta followers do not participate in “Israeli” elections nor do they accept any aid from “Bituach Le’Umi” (Social Security), and the educational institutions of the Neturei Karta reject any form of financial support from the so-called “Va’ad HaYeshivos” (equiv. to Department of Education).

The true Jews remain faithful to Jewish belief and are not contaminated with Zionism.

The true Jews are against dispossessing the Arabs of their land and homes. According to the Torah, the land should be returned to them.

The world must know that the Zionists have illegitimately seized the name Israel and have no right to speak in the name of the Jewish people!

THE LEVANT – Can you tell us about The Three Oaths and what you think it means for Israel as a people as opposed to the state?

RABBI HIRSCH – The Biblical book Song of Songs says, “I adjure you , O daughters of Jerusalem ,by the gazelles or the deer of the field ,not to arouse or awaken the love before it is desired . ” This oath occurs three times in the Song of Songs 3:5 ,2:7 and .8:4. The Talmud interprets this metaphorical language to mean as follows :the speaker here is G-d ,and the“ daughters of Jerusalem ”are the Jewish people .During the Jewish exile ,which began with the destruction of the Temple in the year 69 CE ,G-d placed three oaths upon the Jewish people .The Jewish people were foresworn not to  immigrate as a wall i.e .en masse to the Holy Land ,not to rebel against the other nations and not to make any attempt to pre-empt the redemption. (Tractate Kesubos 111 a). The entire basis of Zionism is a transgression of the three oaths.

The Orthodox Jews pray three times in their pray for the annulment of the damned Zionist state as follows:

“May there will be no hope for the heretics, may they all be destructed in one glimpse, and the malicious monarchy may be removed and ended and surrender quickly in our times”.

We wish and hope that the prophecy of G-d through his prophet Amos would be fulfilled ״behold the eyes of G-d destroy the sinning kingdom from the face of this earth” (Amos .9:8)


Rabbi hirsh3

THE LEVANT – What would you like to see happen moving forward in terms of a resolution between Israel (the political entity) and the Palestinian people?

RABBI HIRSCH – It is now the time to put all needed effort to bring for justice according to international law the NaZionists murderers and war criminals.

We hope by G-d’s will, that once the government is fully returned to the Palestinian people, this government will be gracious and just toward us, as they have treated us during the days of the Diaspora, the gracious kings of Arab and Muslim people here in the holy land, and in the rest of the world will treat us so. We will receive the right to preserve the rules of our religion and G-d’s Torah without any disturbance, we are commanded to pray for their well-being and success in all aspects, as we are commanded in the Talmud “to pray for the well-being of the kingdom”, together we can work for developing the holy land to serve the welfare of both nations, the Palestinians and Jews together by trust and peace. Till the great day arrives when the glory of G-d rules over the entire world, and all wars and bloodshed abolishes from the face of the earth, and all nations join together to worship G-d by shoulder to shoulder.

THE LEVANT – How do you understand Hamas? Do you see this group as a terror organization or a resistance movement animated by profound and utter despair? I’m referring here to the words of Gideon Levy, who in an interview with Al Jazeera stressed that terror was the weapon of the weak, the weapon of despair and sorrow before tyranny.

RABBI HIRSCH – Hamas Organization is a resistance movement and freedom fighters to liberate the Palestinian nation from the cruel suppression that is ongoing for close to seventy years.

Our cry is the cry of Orthodox Jews in Palestine and in the entire world, for the nations of the world: Put an end to the massive genocide that is lead by the criminal powers of Zionists, against our Palestinian brothers, enough with the genocide, stop the occupation of Palestine, release immediately the occupied lands from the international NaZionists criminals, and present humanitarian and financial aid to all Palestinian Muslims in order to rehabilitate them from the catastrophe that fell upon them.

The greatest anti-Semitism in this generation are the NaZionists themselves, and they are the ones who are sowing anti-Semitism in the whole world.

The Orthodox Jews who preserve G-d’s Torah and commands, along with their Rabbis and leaders, the residents of holy Palestine, were strongly against the establishment of the cursed Zionist country, and in 1924 the chief Rabbi of Palestine’s Orthodox Jewry, Rabbi Yosef Haim Zonenfeld blessed his soul, along with Professor Rabbi Yaakov Yisroel De-Haan may G-d revenge his blood, went with a delegation to meet with King Hussein, at the Jordanian kingdom, together with his sons Faisal the

Iraqi King, and prince Abdullah may G-d bless their souls, to clarify to them the stand of Palestine’s Orthodox Jewry, and to clarify unequivocally, “that the Orthodox Jewry strongly oppose a Zionist regime on Palestinian lands”, following these proceedings Professor De-Haan was murdered by the orders of NaZionists leaders!

The relationship between the Arab and Jewish people were always of peace, brotherhood and friendship, the fact that in almost all Arab countries hundreds of thousands of Jews lived there with mutual respect and appreciation is the best proof for that. It is important to note that prior to the

Zionist mass immigration during the 20’s, which aimed for taking control over the Palestinian regime, until that time the Arabs did not feel the need for organizing national military movements against the Jews, since they saw no danger from the Jews who came in prior immigrations and the Arabs did not feel that they wanted to take control; but as Jews who came to live with them in peace under Arab regime.

The Zionists and their heartless leaders’ lust for taking control, knew no limits, and they wanted to establish their regime by force, at the expense of the Arab citizens, and to take by force their lands and property, and with that they committed their despicable crimes against all humanity, and against the Arab people in particular under whose regime we received protection during hundreds of years of peace.

Unfortunately, the Zionist succeeded to expel brutally over 5.500.000 veteran Palestinian citizens of the Holy land, and to take their lands and property. These refugees live under cruel and inhuman conditions. According to the UN resolutions No. 194 dated 11.12.1948 all refugees are permitted to go back to their homes and property. It is important to note as well that till 1964 this resolution was repeated each year, this ceaseless demand, to bring the refugees back immediately to their original cities, villages and lands, All UN member countries including USA voted for it, except for the “Israeli” state that opposed the UN resolution, and who cruelly rejects till this day to fulfil this humanitarian resolution.

The world Orthodox Jewry, requests by this, from all nations of the world to bring for the fulfilment of this humane UN resolution, and bring back millions of Palestinian refugees that their lands and properties were taken from them to their homeland the holy land.

THE LEVANT – Do you recognize that the Quran advocates respect and tolerance for the people of the Book – which of course you are part of – ? Do you recognize that like Judaism has been betrayed by Zionism, Islam has too, been high-jacked by radicals who only seek to destroy it?

RABBI HIRSCH – G-d does not prescribe evil. Evil is from men not G-d. Nefarious powers have been at work and we should all work together to oppose it and denounce it. Jews and Muslims have lived side by side in harmony and brotherhood for centuries before Zionists instilled hatred and vengeance in the hearts of men … Is it so difficult to imagine that we could revert to such peace? Of course not! There is no inherent reason why Jews and Muslims should not leave in peace and harmony.


The late Rabbi Moshe Hirsh with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
The late Rabbi Moshe Hirsh with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat

THE LEVANT – Would you say it is accurate to define Israel as an apartheid state? What do you say of Israel’s violence towards Palestinians?

RABBI HIRSCH – We offer our condolences to the Palestinian people for their continuous suffering, who are not only still persecuted, but their persecution is continuing vigorously.

We mourn bitterly the occupation of Palestine by the criminal NaZionists, which included massive expulsion of over 5.500.000 million Palestinians from their lands and robbing of their property, in terrible brutality, and despised massacres of killing innocent elderly people and women, such as the massacre at Dir-Yassin, Lifta, Yazor, Acco, and other places, in order to terrify and scare the people of Palestine who lived in peace. By driving them away outside the Palestinian borders, thus to this day they remain living in poverty and inhumane conditions. We mourn bitterly, the occupation of the holy Jerusalem by the sinning hands of NaZionists and occupying it, who profaned all holy places, and who maliciously prevented the minimum religious right of the Palestinian people, such as the killing with arms and weapons to prevent them from performing prayers at El-Aksah mosque and Omar mosque.

The Palestinian people are brutally deprived by the evil regime of the NaZionists from its financial and spiritual treasures and till this day are deprived of any means of living, medicine and education that each nation in the world deserves. 3

The Jewish nation are the people of G-d who are loyal to the commands of the holy Torah by obeying its commands and laws, a Jew is only the one who is faithful to the Jewish laws, and who does not participate in the rebel on its religion.

The Jewish nation are the people of no country of its own, and who continued to exist even after going to the Diaspora, only with keeping the Torah, since the Jewish nation without Torah and commands are not a nation.

Members of Neturei Karta protest against Israel
Members of Neturei Karta protest against Israel


To know more about Rabbi Meir Hirsch and Neturei Karta refer to the video below:

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