NETUREI KARTA of THE ORTHODOX JEWRY
7 July '11
Rabbi Meir Hirsh, Jerusalem — Arrest of Shaykh Raed Salah in London
There are very few people in Jerusalem who have not heard of or do not know
Shaykh Raed Salah and I am no exception. He actively been at the forefront of
every Arab-Israeli issue face to face with the Israeli authorities. I have personally
known him for over 9 years and it is this acquaintance which prompts me to pen
this press release.
The idea of Shaykh Raed Salah being charged in the United Kingdom with
anti-Semitism is astounding. The accusations in Israel are not new and in the past
the Israeli authorities have often made such accusations but when it came to
evidence, they had none and so despite their best endeavours were unable to press
That these accusations are baseless is no surprise to me. From my personal
dealings with Shaykh Raed I have never found him to be anything but gentle
mannered, cordial, understanding and concerned for the welfare of everybody in
Jerusalem. While he is relentless in his efforts to preserve Palestinian Christian
and Muslim heritage within Jerusalem, he has never blamed the Jewish people or
Judaic faith for the actions of the political entity that is referred to as the state of
Israel. On the contrary he has always made it his personal goal and responsibility
to distinguish between Judaism-the religion and its practitioners and the political
establishment - the Zionist state.
The good Shaykh has consistently expressed his friendship and brotherhood for
the Jewish People and publicly embraced myself and my Jewish brethren
In the face of the real and distinct possibility of being accused of being a traitor
to his own people, the Shaykh has shown the courage and self sacrifice, in the
name of truth and peace, to take this righteous and courageous stand.
It therefore appals and deeply pains me to see how Britain is dealing with
Shaykh Raed Salah, a man who has been hounded in Israel for simply wanting to
preserve the identity and heritage of his people and nevertheless strives to uphold
and save our holy and peaceful coexistence.
On behalf of my fellow Orthodox Jews, I humbly appeal to the British
government and authorities to release Shaykh Raed Salah and to return to him
his freedom of movement and freedom of speech. Only through dialogue and
actions of such good and courageous men can we all hope to have peace in
To repay his efforts with detention, arrest and vilification, makes a mockery and
destroys this most critical attempt at reuniting and repairing our age-old society of
Muslims, Christians and Jews.
This simply plays into the hands of those who wish to solidify and perpetuate
the impression that there is an ingrained hate and irreparable rift between Jews
This arrest will sadly only accomplish to convey the message that efforts at
reaching out one to the other is futile.
This arrest, may the Almighty protect us, can most certainly bring to the
exacerbation of anti-Semitism.
This arrest, may the Almighty protect us, will only advance the vicious cycle of
continuous mistrust, animosity, and ultimately what follows.
We call upon on all peace loving friends of Jews and Muslims to appeal to the
good government of Britain to expedite and immediately free Shaykh Rayd
Salah and vindicate those who seek world unity, peace and harmonious coexistence.
Rabbi Meir Hirsh
Leader of Neturei Karta, Palestine