Hamas Hosts Neturei Karta for Sabbath in Gaza

Arutz Sheva, Israel/January 5, 2010

Three men and a woman from the extremist Neturei Karta sect traveled to Gaza last week to spend the Sabbath with Hamas terrorists. The four members of the Jewish fringe sect, led by their rabbi, Yisroel Dovid Weiss, a U.S. citizen from New York, said they went in order to signal their support for the terrorist-run regime.

Together with Weiss were Yishai Rothenberg and Yisroel Pinchos Friedman. The woman’s name was not released in a report on the visit broadcast over Israel’s Radio Kol Chai, which also stated that media interviewed the group in their room at the Commodore Hotel during the Sabbath.

Allegedly Hamas, which rules the Gaza region with an iron fist, provided security for the unusual guests, who apparently did not leave the hotel during the Sabbath. Reportedly the terrorist group also supplied food that was stringently kosher.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Sabbath at approximately 7:00 p.m., the group departed from the hotel and also left Gaza, passing into Egypt through the Rafiah Crossing. From Egypt, it is easy to cross back into Israel.

'Terrible tragedy'

This is not the first time that Neturei Karta has expressed its support for the Hamas terrorist organization.

One day earlier, a handful of men from the same group joined a massive demonstration in Gaza at Beit Hanoun by Arabs and international leftists at the Erez Crossing calling for an end to the blockade by Israel. As with the group that spent Sabbath in Gaza, the Neturei Karta demonstrators were led by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, who told reporters, "It’s crucial that the people of Gaza understand the terrible tragedy here is not in the name of Judaism."

Several days prior to that, they were photographed together with British Parliament Member George Galloway, who led the Viva Palestina convoy in an attempt to break the blockade on Gaza by trying to pressure Cairo into allowing hundreds of trucks, buses and ambulances reportedly filled with humanitarian supplies to enter Egypt through Nuweiba from Aqaba, Jordan. The ploy would have enabled the convoy to bypass the Israeli checkpoints stationed at the Gaza crossings and head straight across the Sinai Peninsula in a shortcut to the Rafiah Crossing into the region.

Haniyeh's heroes

Six months ago, Weiss led a delegation of four Neturei Karta men who traveled with a group of international leftists to Gaza by boat in an attempt to break Israel’s control over the coastal waters. The delegation met in July 2009 with Hamas "Prime Minister" Ismail Haniyeh during their visit, assuring him of their support. "We feel your suffering, we cry your cry," Weiss was quoted as telling Haniyeh. "We view you as heroes," Haniyeh replied, according to various media reports.

Four years ago this month, the group wrote a public letter posted on the internet, proclaiming its "complete solidarity with the Palestinian people" and congratulating Hamas on its victory at the polls.

The letter goes on to explain the position of Neturei Karta, namely, that Jews were sent into exile two thousand years ago by a divine decree, and are to await patiently for the revelation of G-d "when all mankind will recognize and serve Him together in harmony and joy. Any attempts to create our own state, in this our Heavenly decreed exile, is expressly forbidden."

Next year in Muslim Jerusalem

The letter also states the fervent wish "that we should merit to see the peaceful and speedy dismantlement of the Zionist entity - the State of ‘Israel’ and the transformation of rule over the entire Holy Land, including of course Al-Quds, to its proper rulers, the Palestinian people."

The letter was signed by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, on behalf of Neturei Karta International, USA, and Rabbi Ahron Cohen, Neturei Karta, UK.

Neturei Karta has in the past also sent delegations to visit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, including a recent trip to attend a Holocaust-denial conference he sponsored in Tehran. In the past, members of Neturei Karta have praised Ahmadinejad for calling the for elimination of the State of Israel from the pages of history."

When former Palestine Liberation Organization terror chief Yasser Arafat lay on his deathbed, the group organized a prayer vigil on his behalf.

Neturei Karta: Not to be Confused with Other Groups

Neturei Karta is an Aramaic term, meaning "Guardians of the City" - the reference is to the holy city of Jerusalem, where the group was founded.

The group, founded 70 years ago, is vehemently anti-Zionist and opposes the existence of the State of Israel, insisting that no Israeli government can legitimately exist until the Messiah arrives, who will then establish one.

The group's extremist actions are shunned by other Jewish sects, including the Satmar Chassidic sect, with which it is often confused due to similar garb and the fact that Satmar, and several other Chassidic groups agree with the basic premise that only the Messiah has the right to form a government and state in the Holy Land of the Jewish People.

Estimates of the size of the group range from a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on who is doing the estimating, with communities living in the U.S., the UK and Israel.

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