January 1st, 2012
12:44 PM ET

Ultra-Orthodox Jews invoke Holocaust in demonstrations over gender roles

By Guy Azriel, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN) - Ongoing religious tensions in Israel reached new heights Saturday when a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews used clothing and symbols identified with the Holocaust at a Jerusalem rally.

Demonstrating against what they viewed as incitement against the ultra-Orthodox in Israeli media, about 1,000 men marched through the streets of their neighborhood, many of them dressed in concentration camp uniforms and wearing yellow Stars of David, which Jews were forced to wear in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Saturday night’s rally came in response to a high-profile public campaign against gender discrimination in utra-Orthodox communities and followed a prime time television story of a young Israeli girl harassed on her way to school for not being dressed according to the strict rules of the community. The broadcast sparked a wave of criticism and prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak out against the segregation of women, referring to it as “an unacceptable phenomenon that goes against the values of Judaism and democracy.”

Some at the rally held up signs that read “Zionists are not Jews, they are racists” and “We will remain loyal to the laws of the holy Torah.”

Cabinet member and Holocaust survivor Yossi Peled expressed his outrage over the group’s use of such historically sensitive symbols. “Cynically using the characteristics of what was the attempt to exterminate our nation is one thing we simply cannot accept. I am willing to take part in every argument within the Israeli society, but some things are taboo.”

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Peled said, “Dressing up children with the yellow ribbons with their hands up in the air, re-enacting pictures of children from the ghetto, is simply inconceivable. Six million Jews, including one and a half million children, cannot be used as a tool in a public debate.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Israel • Judaism

soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Ned

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3FnpaWQJO0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=640&h=390%5D

    August 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  2. Ned

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BagYRDEFvy0&w=560&h=315%5D

    August 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  3. Hypatia

    Descpicable the lengths to which fanatical morons will go.

    January 7, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  4. davidmginsberg

    It is totally incredible that these ultra orthodox Jews are using the Holocaust to protest their treatment. When I saw the actions of the Ultra Orthodox in Bet Shemesh, I wanted to hand them Swastikas because these ultra-orthodox Jews are just as bad as the Nazis, and in my opinion, are not Jews but are idolaters and false prophets.

    They seek to tell others what religions they can practice and how they should be practiced, they are intolerant of others, They seek to prevent Jews from being Jewish, and worst of all, they will destroy Israel, not from the outside like most of the Anti-Semites, but from within. I forgot to mention, they use disgusting, illegal, and immoral violence, which violates God's laws, including cruel treatment and violence towards children. They also break the law of civilized human beings.

    I was so upset by their actions I wrote a Blog about this where I said they "Would go to hell" despite thinking they are the "Chosen." I also disavow their Judaism, and believe that while they may have the bible memorized, they have no idea of what it means or what God intends for the Jews.

    They are idolaters as they believe in symbolic rituals just as the Egyptians believed in idols as symbols of the Gods.

    Here is my Blog Post URL if anyone is interested http://usa-china-international.blogspot.com/2011/12/violence-instead-of-peace-erupts.html.

    I invite these fanatics (I was told that some live in the USA) to debate me or to try to use their violence on me. I will show them the rule of law and the power of the Chosen and oppose them as I would oppose any Nazi.

    My Name is David M. Ginsberg. I live in Philadelphia PA. My profile contains detailed biographic information on the main page of my Blog URL at http://usa-china-international.blogspot.com and I can be contacted or found through that site very easily.
    My e-mail is lawphila@aol.com.

    I dare them to contact me and arrange a meeting, debate, discussion, or any other confrontation of their choosing. They will be exposed for who and what they really are, which is immoral nonreligous Anti-Semites.

    David Ginsberg

    January 3, 2012 at 6:01 am |
    • hurricane

      I too am saddened by these fanatics. Religious fanaticism breeds intolerance and hatred. And you are right in saying that these types of people will destroy Israel from within.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  5. jbs


    Hasai, i absolutely agree with you!!! "Ultra-Orthodox Jews invoke Holocaust in demonstrations over gender roles"

    And this is surprising in what way??????

    January 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  6. Martin

    This is stiupid man !!!!! Ortodox man's from israel – nazi man !!!

    January 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Thinker23

      I have to agree with you, Martin... You've managed to convince me. You must be INCREDIBLY stupid.

      January 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Martin

      German soldiers killed polish & jewish man in II War World, Jewish soldiers now fighting to Palestinian children ..... World is stupid...

      January 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • md2205

      It is highly unfortunate that the number of those acting this way, very few in number, are given so much publicity that people think all or most of the orthodox Jews act like that. In every group, you will find those who act not according to that group's professed belief, or even according to their own professed belief. But we don't have to exaggerate and include the vast majority of the orthodox Jews, who by the way are as against the actions of these people as you are.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  7. Ari

    A bizayon for all of klal Yisrael and tremendous Chilul Hashem!! These people are why we dont have a Beis Hamikdash today. Shame on them!! They obviously didnt smell the air over Auschwitz to be able to compare the Israeli police to the Nazis!

    January 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  8. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    Never forget that Yitzak Rabin was murdered by one of these nutcases. Never forget.

    January 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Did you forget who killed President Kennedy, Quid Malmborg in Plano TX? It was a white Christian American, a former soldier.

      January 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  9. Christopher puregold uc

    My mind nigeria need divid

    January 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • A Little Help

      In your opinion Nigeria needs to be divided?

      January 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  10. Joe Talmud OÇonnor

    Fundamentalists of any stripe are TERRIBLE. Freaking loons.. I am Jewish and raised my kids in the fauth but these ultra-orthodox are the worst.

    January 2, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • The Other Guy

      Same here, buddy. I may be Jewish myself, but those people are a little too extreme to call the same religion as me. Considering that I diss all religions, including my own, I have a feeling that if they're right, I'm screwed.

      January 7, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  11. Hasai

    "Ultra-Orthodox Jews invoke Holocaust in demonstrations over gender roles"

    And this is surprising in what way?

    January 2, 2012 at 11:28 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.