Sunday, May 17, 2015

Yom Yerushalyim, Satmar, and Neturei Karta

IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren blowing the Shofer at the Kotel in 1967
On this day as we celebrate Yom Yerushalyim I think back to the heady days of 1967 when Israel won the 6 day war. Back then Israel was the darling of all the liberals. They were the underdog being attacked and outnumbered by the Arab armies, constantly being threatened with annihilation by then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar, who was the undisputed spokesman for that cause.

Egypt initiated the war by closing the Gulf of Aqaba– Israel’s lifeline to the sea. Israel made a decision to take preemptive military action because of this existential threat. The rest is rather famous history. The Arabs got whooped in 6 days. Israel took control of East Jerusalem and the entire West Bank of the Jordan River and Gaza. The words of General Moti Gur as he entered the old city of Jerusalem still ring in my ears, “Har HaBayis B’Yadenu!” The Temple Mount is in our hands!

What a great feeling that was. Israel became the most admired nation in the world. American military experts and generals at the time could not get over the brilliance of Israel’s victory. 

I cannot remember being more proud of my people. But there were some Jews that were not proud at all. The leader of Satmar Rebbe,  R’ Yoel Titlebaum called this victory a Maseh Satan – the work of the devil. And his spiritual heirs carry on his legacy.

No matter how much I try, I cannot understand how these people can teach their children so much hatred of the State of Israel. Watching the video (1st video below) of a Chasidic child bashing Israel on Yom Ha’atzmaut to a classroom filled with even younger children was upsetting but not surprising.  He was no doubt parroting what he was taught from practically the day he was born.

This was not just an isolated event. There is a pattern of Israel bashing that is continuous among these Chasidim to this day. And they do so every chance they get. Not far from there in the town of Kiryas Joel there was a Lag B’Omer celebration that included a bonfire where an Israeli flag was brought in and burned.(2nd video below)

I can understand being against the State of Israel for ideological reasons as per the Satmar Rebbe. What I cannot understand is the way they do it. It is though their desire to show how much they hate the State supersedes all other considerations. Considerations like the very safety of their brethren. 6 million Jews living in Israel. It is videos like these that gives succor to Israel’s greatest enemies.  And it provides them with a group of religious looking Jews they can claim to be on their side. They might be called ‘Useful Idiots’. That’s what  Communist sympathizers in America were called by some during the cold war with the former Soviet Union.

Both of these videos are no doubt of Neturi Karta events. But hey did not make up this attitude themselves. I am absolutely convinced that the vehemence with which they express their opposition to Israel can be traced back to the Satmar Rebbe himself. No one expressed more hatred for the Jewish State than he did – comparing R’ Avrahom Yitzchok Kook to an ancient ‘Hitler’ named Haman. With rhetoric like that, it is indeed not surprising that some of his spiritual offspring would do the kinds of things seen in these videos. They say pretty much the same things all the antisemites of the world say. 

It gives these antisemites cover to deny that their antisemitic rhetoric. How could it be if these obviously religious Jews are saying the same thing? How ironic it is that their claim in this video is that Israel is manufacturing Antisemitism as an incentive to make Aliyah. All while they say and do things that encourage it.

Don’t they realize how stupid this is? Because that is the only real fruit of their labor. Their publicly advertised antipathy does not further their agenda of dismantling the state of Israel one iota.