A Look at the Anti - Zionist Neturei Karta

Associated Press/April 2, 2007

The small, fringe anti-Zionist Jewish group Neturei Karta sparked outrage by meeting in December with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. On Sunday, a suspicious fire destroyed one of the group's synagogues in Monsey, N.Y.

An explanation of their worldview:

What they believe: Neturei Karta, or ''Guardians of the City,'' believe that only God can redeem Jews from sin, end their exile and create Israel. They base their belief partly on a reading of Psalms 127:1: ''Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain on it; unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman keeps vigil in vain.''

Where they live: With a membership estimated to be only in the thousands, many followers live in the United States, England -- and even Israel. However, they do not participate in the Israeli government in any way, such as voting or taking government assistance.

Why they protest: The ultra-Orthodox group believes the messianic age will not start until Zionism is eliminated, so they make common cause with some of the most outspoken critics of the Jewish state. They heckle marchers in annual Israel Day parades in New York and regularly burn the Israeli flag. They have appeared publicly with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and in December, met with Ahmadinejad in Tehran during a conference debating the Holocaust.

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