Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not alone, Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah can now also count himself among Neturei Karta's friends.
On Tuesday six Neturei Karta activists arrived in east Jerusalem to show their support for Salah at his protest tent pitched in the Wadi Joz neighborhood.
During the visit, Israel Hirsch, from the strictly Orthodox Mea Sheraim neighborhood, gave a rallying speech expressing his support for Salah, who also spoke at the meeting.
Earlier this month Salah was arrested at the Mugrabi excavation site after forcibly breaking through the police line guarding the area along with several of his followers. A court slapped him with a restraining order and he has since maintained the required 150 meter (500 feet) distance from the walls of the Old City.
"The Zionists have no right to change Jerusalem," Hirsch told Ynet on Tuesday. He also said that Salah and his followers greeted the Neturei Karta members "with joy and warmth."
Neturei Karta member and Ahmadinejad in Teheran (Photo: AFP)
"Everything we do near the Temple Mount riles the Muslim world against us. The excavations are being done in the name of the Jewish people, but not everyone agrees to this. Not every Jew is a Zionist. We object to these actions and we're here to convey this message to Muslims," added Hirsch.
In response to the official standpoint that the motive for constructing the new bridge is a matter of public safety, Hirsch replied: "One must act to save lives, but have the Palestinians do it. The Zionists have no business sticking their noses in this matter."
According to Hirsch, Salah said in his speech that Muslims harbor no hatred towards Jews but rather that all the problems stem from the behavior of the "Zionist establishment."
Disowned even by Satmar
Neturei Karta was established in 1935 and prior to the state's formation refused to take part in any activity of the Zionist community. Even after Israel’s independence, Neturei Karta continued to oppose Zionism and the State of Israel, believing that the existence of a secular Israel is sacrilege as a Jewish state cannot be established until the coming of the messiah.
Last December, Neturei Karta members flew to Teheran to participate in the internationally condemned
Holocaust denial conference. The Jewish community both in Israel and abroad responded with outrage – including the Satmar hassidic movement, largely considered as the most prominent Jewish anti-Zionists.
Hirsch said that the purpose of the visit to Iran was to show support for Ahmadinejad's call to move Israel to Germany. He said that the group was there to object Zionism, not support Holocaust denial and the depiction of their visit as such was a disinformation plot carried out by Zionists.