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Orthodox Jews Demonstrate Concern for palestinian leader,

Orthodox Rabbis at memorial to the well-being of Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat.

Paris, November 4, 2004.

Orthodox Jewry wish to participate in the anxiety and well wishing at this time of deep concern regarding the health of President Yasser Arafat.

Part and parcel of Jewish Torah conduct is to be concerned about the well being of any sick person but in this instance our concern is bound up not only with the wish for the personal return to health of President Arafat but also for the return to ’health’ of the whole ’sick’ situation in Palestine.

President Arafat probably more than any other one person embodies and has embodied for decades the struggle of the Palestinian People against the Zionist regime in Palestine.

President Arafat is the symbol of the Palestinian People’s desire and aim for freedom and independence in the land in which they have been the indigenous population for centuries.

Torah Jewry wish to reiterate once again their total dissociation from the one hundred year old confrontation between Zionist and Arab in Palestine and its culmination in the form of the illegitimate Zionist State. Illegitimate because it is contrary to the Jewish Religious belief which a) forbids us to have our own rule in exile, b) to rebel against any nation or people, c) to attemp to preemt the redemption. Contrarily, Jewish belief requires us to accept the authority of the indigenous population. The Zionist State is also contrary to Jewish Religious teachings, because of basic humanitarian justice.

The Zionists claim (misleadingly) to represent the Jewish People and, as a result, any animosity arising among the Palestinians and indeed among other nations following the various Zionist actions, falls on the whole of the Jewish People. Those who harbour this animosity are then accused of anti-Semitism.

However, what has to be made abundantly clear is that Zionism is not Judaism. Zionists cannot speak in the name of Jews. Zionists may have been born as Jews, but to be a Jew also requires adherence to Jewish belief and conduct. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. On the contrary Zionism itself and its deeds are the biggest threat to Jews and Judaism.

THEREFORE Orthodox Jews wish to declare that the Zionists do not represent the Jews in any way and they have no mandate whatsoever to speak in the name of the Jewish People.

President Arafat embodies the Palestinian claim and dream to be their own masters in Palestine and it is for this cause that he has devoted most of his years.

Orthodox Jews endorse the Palestinian claim to independence because that is the wish of the Palestinian People, the indigenous population of Palestine. This is what our Torah, our religion, requires us to do.

We wish to add that the connection between Arab and Jew goes right back into ancient history. Mostly the relationship was friendly and mutually beneficial. Historically, the situation frequently was that when Jews were being persecuted in Europe they found refuge in the various Arab countries. Our attitude to Arabs and Muslims must only be one of friendliness and respect. It was only the advent of the Zionists and Zionism which upset this age old relationship.

We also wish to declare once again that the only solution to the impasse in Palestine is the total peaceful dismantling of the Zionist State. We would welcome the opportunity to dwell in peace in the holy land under a rule which is entirely in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the Palestinian People.

The Zionist State known as “Israel” is a regime that has no right to exist. Its continuing existence is the underlying cause of the strife in Palestine.

We pray for an end to bloodshed and an end to the suffering of all innocent people - Jew and non-Jew alike - worldwide.

We wish President Arafat a speedy recovery and we pray for a solution to the terrible and tragic impasse that exists in Palestine. Hopefully based on results brought about by moral, political and economic pressures imposed by the nations of the world.

  • Sadly, President Arafat passed away. Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews attended his graveside memorial service on 14 Nov. 2004.
  • Read statement prepared by Neturei Karta International for the International anti-Apartheid Wall demonstration, on November 13, 2004, in Paris France.
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