Neturei karta

21.05.2018 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

Neturei Karta (Hebrew: literally “Guardians of the City”) is a religious movement in Judaism and opponents of Zionism and the State of Israel.

They believe that the independence and rule of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel until the coming of the Messiah is unacceptable. From the point of view of Neturei Karta, Zionism and Israel appeared in violation of the laws of the Torah.

Main prohibitions:

  • Jews are forbidden to try to hasten the Deliverance and become politically free. Passages in Ketubot (the Talmud) are the basis for this.
  • Jews can build communities (or states), but only according to the laws of the Torah (in a particular case, the opinion of elected members of the Knesset). Otherwise, it is seen as a rebellion against God and the breaking of the connection between Him and the people of Israel.

Followers of Neturei Karta believe that the extermination of the Jews and the Holocaust were “the result of the Zionist action” and “the punishment of the Jewish people for their sins”.

In the Arab-Israeli conflict, Neturei Karta adopts the policies of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) both in the past, under Yasser Arafat, and now.

Neturei karta

The Name

The name of the movement is mentioned in a story from the Midrash (exegesis of the Holy Scriptures, a special type of works of Jewish literature that flourished from the fourth to the twelfth centuries). The city was visited by the sages Rav Assi and Rav Ami, and they asked the residents to show them the guards of the city. The townspeople thought that they were talking about soldiers and police. Rav Ami and Rav Assi said that the army and police were not Neturei Karta (guardians of the city), but those who destroy the city. According to them, the sages and the righteous were the real Neturei Karta who protected the settlement.


The Neturei Karta movement was founded in 1935. Now the number of followers is about five thousand people, partially residing in Israel, having four main synagogues:

  • Tora Ve’Yira, Jerusalem
  • Tora U’Tefila, London
  • Tora U’Tefila, New York City
  • Beis Yehudi, Monsey, New York


Neturei Karta hold the following views:

  1. Jews cannot be equated with the State of Israel. God told the Jewish people to live in exile for 2,000 years without participating in political affairs during that time. The meaning of their lives is to comprehend and comply with the laws of God.
  2. The State of Israel was founded by Zionists. The Zionist movement established the supervision of Jews through violence and deception.
  3. Jews who share the views of Zionists misinterpret the Torah. They quote that God gave the Promised Land to the Jewish people and deliberately omit the information that He took it from them. If the scripture is interpreted this way, it turns out that the Jews can build their own country.

Heads of the organization believe that this follows from three religious definitions that were established during the expulsion of the Jews:

  1. Jews cannot rebuild their state on their own.
  2. Jews should not revolt against the people who help them.
  3. Jews cannot hasten Deliverance (even through prayers).
Neturei karta

Support for Anti-Israel Actions

Rabbi Moshe Hirsch, the Minister of Jewish Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority and leader of one of the Neturei Karta groups, was an adviser to Arafat. There is an opinion that Arafat sponsored the propaganda conducted by Hirsch. For example, in 2002, during Operation Protective Wall, he transferred 55 thousand dollars to the account of Neturei Karta. Hirsch did not recognize the transfer.

In March 2006, Neturei Karta wanted to establish ties with Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), seeking to make Hirsch their adviser again. During the Second Lebanon War, they supported Hezbollah, accusing Israel of provocations. Rabbi Israel Hirsch, the son of Moshe Hirsch, communicated with Arafat, met with Hamas leaders and with Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Islamic extremists of the United States, who expressed his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called them “heroes” for trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

In 2006, sharing Iran’s anti-Israel activities, Neturei Karta participated in the Holocaust Review: ‘A Global Vision conference’. The conference and its outcome were the subject of criticism by the Iranian public and Iranian Jews. They were outraged by the Holocaust denial. Europe, Israel and the United States also officially protested against it and a counter conference was held in Germany. The Tehran Conference was the basis for the drafting by the UN General Assembly of a special Resolution 61/255 “Holocaust Denial”, criticizing all those who do not recognize it. This occurred on January 26, 2007, – the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day,

Members of the Neturei Karta movement who participated in the Tehran conference have been boycotted and criticized. Some have called them traitors to the Jewish people and their heritage.

Neturei Karta considers its role fulfilled, defending, from its point of view, the position of the Torah and genuine and pure Judaism.