While Israelis across Israel stood for two minutes of silence Tuesday in memory of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust, dozens of members of the radical Neturei Karta anti-Zionist stream protested in Jerusalem against the state ceremonies marking Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Shortly before 10 am the protesters gathered at the Shabbat Square in the city, and as the sirens sounded and passersby stood still and bowed their head, they began crossing the intersection while holding up signs denouncing "the Zionist Holocaust memorial day."
Walking during the moment of silence (Photo: Guy Assayag)
The protesters briefly confronted journalists, photographers and bystanders before dispersing.
Yisrael Hirsch of Neturei Karta and a resident of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem told Ynet that "the Zionists cynically abuse the Holocaust for their own purposes."
'Zionism caused the Holocaust'
He said that, "According to Jewish tradition, and this was also stated by the Satmar Rebbe, it is Zionism that caused the Holocaust. Once the State proclaimed this day to be a memorial day for those murdered it essentially claims that it saved the Jews, and this is why we went out to protest.
"Standing in silence during the siren signals the people's participation in the acts of the Zionist regime in Palestine," he added.
Hirsch also said that holding Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Jewish month of Nisan, during which mourning rituals are forbidden, is wrong and offensive to the victims' memory.
Hirsch noted that three prominent Neturei Karta representatives attended the UN conference on racism in Geneva on Monday and even sat next too Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a press conference he held there.
The three, Rabbi Aharon Cohen from Manchester, Rabbi Yohanan Hochheiser from London and Rabbi Yisrael David Weiss from Monsey, NY, reiterated the Iranian president's statements that the Zionists used the Holocaust ton establish a state at the expense of the Palestinians.