And I met some wonderful women (including the warm & encouraging mikveh ladies) who seemed like they might be Neturei Karta (they had shaved heads, long black tichels, and black dresses), but I wasn't sure because I'm not always sure how to differentiate between Neturei Karta and other super-frum insulated groups.
And just for knowing: Neturei Karta is a specific group within that Meah Shearim-Geula community of wonderfully traditional & insulated Yidden. In other words, not everyone from there is Neturei Karta. (Neturei Karta has also spread out to other cities too.)
But I don't recall meeting any of the men. (Or if I did, I didn't know it.) So despite living & working right there, I actually know surprisingly little about Neturei Karta, other than what appears on the (deplorably biased) news or other tidbits here and there.
It also seems that other frum people don't know much about them either. There tends to be a lot of contradictory back-and-forth among frum people regarding Neturei Karta.
So imagine how pleased I was to run across a 2-minute 45-second video from Rav Zamir Cohen, which discusses Neturei Karta and who they really are. If you understand Hebrew, it's HERE.
(Note: A couple of females appear briefly in an ad — which you can skip — preceding the video. They're tsniusly dressed, but some people are shomer aynayim l'mehadrin — and more power to them. So the MP3 audio is on the lower right-hand side of the video screen for those who just want to listen, can't skip the ad, or whatever.)
What Rav Zamir Cohen Says about Neturei Karta
So Rav Zamir first acknowledges that when people claiming to be & dressing like Neturei Karta are photographed with the PLO and other particularly genocidal sonei Yisrael, this raises legitimate concerns.
Thus, Rav Zamir starts by explaining the Aramaic term Neturei Karta:
Neturei: Guardians of the
He then explains that the authentic original Neturei Karta group believes that (0:47):
"...because the State educates the children of Israel on a path against the Torah; the laws of the State do not go according to the Torah — so they [Neturei Karta] say: 'We do not wish to participate in elections, we don't want to be partners in this whole enterprise. We'll manage our schools without the funding of the State."
" 'Because we don't want to be partners with a government that educates the Nation not according to the Torah'."
"That, in essence, is Neturei Karta."
(I had no idea about any of that.)
In Neturei Karta's newspaper (I didn't know they had one), Neturei Karta states regarding this splinter group:
"They do not represent us and obviously their attitude is warped, and they bring upon all of us a bad name."
When someone has reached the point where they associate with such enmity, Rav Zamir declares:
"Not only do they not represent the Torah, they don't even represent the Torah extremists."
This actually echoes what many frum Jews, regardless of our group association, deal with: We're always forced to defend ourselves against the actions (or misreported actions) of a disturbed few, protesting that "they don't represent us" or "they're a tiny minority; most of us aren't like that at all" or "the media got it wrong (again)," etc.
Again, Rav Zamir clarifies (2:15):
"Even the extreme Neturei Karta, their war is in that they claim that the State educates and legislates laws against the Torah — 'We don't want anything from them, we don't want to participate in elections, we don't want to influence, we don't want to take even one cent from them. But not, God forbid, to befriend enemies of Israel. We are all Jews; we are all brothers'."
It's not about whether you agree with the actual Neturei Karta or not.
It's just knowing the truth about your fellow Jews and not being a victim of the distortions of media or impostors.