Neturei Karta, religious group of Haredi Jews who rejects Zionism and the establishment of Israel, sent on Thursday a letter to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh praising his movement’s statement which separated between Jews and Zionism.
“We are greatly appreciative of your understanding of the distinction between Judaism, a religion, and Zionism, a nationalistic movement,” the Jewish rabbi wrote.
“The Jewish community has lived peacefully in Palestine for hundreds of years in mutual respect with our Palestinian neighbors, never seeking to dominate or attack anyone,” he added.
He went on: “The Torah teaches that we are in exile and therefore we must live humbly as loyal citizens of our countries, praying for their wellbeing.
“That is how Jews lived in countries all over the world for 2000 years, and that is how we wish to continue living.”
Calls to target Jews around the world
This letter came after the movement had issued a statement, clarify remarks made by a member of its political bureau last week in which he mixed between Jews and Zionists.
Fathi Hammad, a member of Hamas political bureau, addressed the protesters during the protests of the Great March of Return on Friday 12 July, saying that “our patience has run out.”
He continued: “We are on the verge of exploding. If this siege is not undone, we will explode in the face of our enemies, with God’s permission and glory. The explosion is not only going to be in Gaza but also in the [West] Bank and abroad, if God wills.”
Hammad was referring to strict Israeli restrictions on the movement of people and goods between Gaza and the outside world.
Addressing the Palestinians in diaspora, he said: “They are warming up. A long time has passed with them warming up. All of you 7 million Palestinians abroad, enough of the warming up. You have Jews everywhere and we must attack every Jew on the globe by way of slaughter and killing, if God permits. Enough of the warming up.”
Hamas disowns remarks
In the statement, Hamas disowned the remarks uttered by Fathi Hammad and said that these remarks did not represent any of Hamas stances.
Hamas stressed in the statement that such remarks contradict the terms of its charter, which clearly stipulates that the struggle is only between the Palestinians and the Zionist occupiers of Palestine and stresses that the struggle is limited inside Palestine.
“Our struggle is with the occupation occupying our land and desecrating our sanctities, not conflict with the Jews in the world or with Judaism as a religion,” Hamas said in the statement.
“The movement has already condemned the attacks against safe Jews in their places of worship,” the statement added, referring to the attacks carried out mainly against the Jewish synagogues in the USA.
Hope for ending Zionist state
In the letter, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss hoped the speedy end of the Zionist state, which, he said, practices “oppression?” against, not only the Palestinians, but also the Jews.
“We Orthodox Jews are greatly pained over the occupation, with its long history of killing, stealing and oppression. With an aching heart we cry out, ‘Not in our name!’”
He added: “A large percentage of Orthodox Jews are opposed to the Zionist state and all its actions, both around the world and in Palestine.
“It’s well-known that members of our community who live under the Zionists refuse to serve in the IDF, and are currently struggling to resist the Zionist government’s attempts to draft them.”
The Rabbi added: “We pray that the unnecessary loss of life of Arabs and Jews should no longer continue. We pray and look forward for the day when Arabs and Jews will once again live together in peace in tranquility as in centuries past.
“Ultimately, we pray and yearn for the revelation of the Almighty’s glory, when all humanity will serve Him in harmony and joy. Amen.”
Neturei Karta(Aramaic: "Guardians of the City") is a group of Orthodox Jews which rejects Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel. They believe that the true Israel can only be reestablished with the coming of the Messiah.
They number some 5,000 and are concentrated in Jerusalem. Other, larger groups associated with Neturei Karta but not members of the group, can be found in Israel, London, New York City, and upstate New York state.
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