"Rabbis visit Tehran to support call for Israel's destruction"
(AFP, March 12, 2006)
Jerusalem, Israel - Members of a radical Jewish sect have met with top Iranian officials in Tehran to show support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for the destruction of Israel.
Leading rabbis of Neturei Karta, an anti-Zionist group of ultra-Orthodox Jews who consider the existence of Israel an abomination, met with Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the top-selling Yediot Aharonot reported.
Ahmadinejad has said the Jewish state "must be wiped off the map" or moved as far away as Alaska -- comments that have provoked anger in the West and condemnation from the UN Security Council.
The group's spokesman, Rabbi Dovid Weiss, was quoted as supporting Ahmadinejad's call during an interview on Iranian television last week.
Although all of the rabbis who visited
Iran Sunday live in either New York or London, there are some 400 Neturei Karta families living in Jerusalem who refuse to recognize Israel's authority.
Following Ahmadinejad's claim that the Holocaust -- the killing of an estimated six million Jews by the Nazis and their allies during World War II -- was a myth used to justify the creation of Israel, the visiting rabbis agreed the mass killing had been hijacked by Zionists.
"The issue of the Holocaust has to do with the Zionist use ... The Zionists are using this issue. We, the Jews who were killed in the Holocaust, do not use the Holocaust as a tool for promoting our cause," Weiss was quoted as saying.
"Neturei Karta are well known for their hatred towards Israel," Yediot Aharonot wrote, "but it seems that this time they have crossed the line."