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. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Receive the grace of God today
    Accept Jesus Christ
    As your personal savior

    January 2, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  2. David M Ginsberg

    As a Jew who beleives in Israel's right to exist, I was shocked and saddened at the actions of the fanatical untra-orthodox sect in Israel. Clearly, these are people who know every word contained in the Bible of Talmud, but have not understanding of the meaning of those words and messages. They call themselves Jews, but they are not members of the same religion as I. Furthermore, like the Nazis and Arab Terrorists, they threaten to destroy the essence of Israel, albeit from within.

    I was also disturbed by similar reports of violence, on that day or the next day, between two Orthodox Christian sects in Jerusalem, between Islamisists in NIgeria, the possibility of war with Iran over the Strait of Hormuz, as well as continued religious violence in Iraq between Shia and Sunni Muslim, and the continued violence in Egypt and most of all Syria. It needs to stop.

    I put together a nice Blog article on this violence with videos from many sources, and I urge people to looke at it. Hopefully, you will be as disgusted as me, and we can collectively put an end to the violence. I was so disturbed by the senselessness of the violence, and the extent of it, that in order to spread my message, I published my Blog in English, Chinese, Arabic, and Hebrew.

    The Bog Post is at http://usa-china-international.blogspot.com/2011/12/violence-instead-of-peace-erupts.html#more

    and my Blog is at http://usa-china-international.blogspot.com/

    David M. Ginsberg

    January 2, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  3. Jackkkkkkkkk

    Jesus Christ is the the way, the truth, the love

    January 2, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Helmut

      LOL ! fanatics are dumb !

      January 2, 2012 at 5:37 am |
  4. Solitairedog

    Men who physically assault and harrass little girls are pedophiles. They get off on it. Religion is just an excuse.

    January 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • mollyd

      Most of those orthodox members are ignorant and evil. They live off the state....they are disgusting.

      January 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Teh Orbs of Seeing

      They have no shame. To spit on little girls and be proud of it just shows how sick they are. They should be expelled.

      January 2, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  5. togirl

    They have no right to complain about Israel; they take and take but give very little to the state. Let them work a little more, have a fewer babies and do their fair share of army duty.

    January 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  6. Theend

    From the NYT: "...More broadly, mainstream Israelis have been expressing growing resentment of the ultra-Orthodox sector, which makes up about 10 percent of the population but is rapidly expanding. More than 60 percent of ultra-Orthodox men prefer full-time Torah study and welfare subsidies to work, and a vast majority receive exemptions from military duties required of all other Jewish Israelis." Prefer full-time Torah study and welfare subsidies to work? Israel has a serious problem...

    January 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Dan

      To quote the blatantly anti-Israel yellow rag NYT as a source on anything related to Israel is plainly stupid. FYI, most NY Jews have long ago cancelled their subsciptions to that yellow rag.

      January 2, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  7. Dandy

    So.. they are dressing up playing Nazi persecuted Jews....... who is going to play Hitler?
    Are they going to setup make believe gas chambers also.. and start doing concentration camp re-enactments 😉
    What a bunch of BS .... sickening when Jews run for cover behind the holocaust in an attempt to deflect criticism
    for their own brutal actions against kids.
    It..so.. so.. so Jewish! Those people have the "I'm a poor Jew" thing down cold...

    January 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Not Very Dandy At All!

      The people objecting the loudest and who indeed have the most right to object are other Jews, the majority of them, dingbat.

      January 2, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  8. Logan

    Fanatics have no shame. We see this in every religion. If we did a brain scan of them they'd probably show frontal lobe damage / impairment.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Vman

      I think brain-scans should determine a person's eligibility to vote. We don't need insane people voting.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Teh Orbs of Seeing


      January 2, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  9. tony

    Being Professional Victims has really paid off in terms of being compensated with trillions of Dollars worth of (someone elses) Mediterranean Seafront Prime Real Estate, for the last 60 years.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Mycology

      Theres no oil in Israel, so please tell me, how is that land "someone elses" since the Jewish people are the only people who have ever had sovereignty there in history, and tell me how it is worth trillions considering we can see plenty of examples of what arab muslims do to their own people and societies when they are left to their own devices?

      January 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Theend

      "..Prefer full-time Torah study and welfare subsidies to work.." is not sovereignty - it is a welfare state...And who pays to support the welfare state?

      January 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Theend... you would be amazed to discover that the US aid amounts to whopping 3% of the Israeli budget. The remaining 97% are supplied by the Israelis themselves. You would be amazed even more to discover that the US aid to Britain during WWII was much higher than 3% of the British budget... and this, apparently, made Britain NOT a sovereign state. Correct?

      January 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Norman

      Who pays? The Israelis who actually go to work everyday. They are what allows Israel to continue as a nation. The ultra-orthodox haredi men are employed at a rate of about 40%, at best 25% for those between the ages of 30 and 34.

      January 2, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • md2205

      All over the world, there are people who wish to destroy the Jews, and finally after the Holocaust, the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland, Israel, which was taken over thousands of years before by many empires and countries including Babylonia, Rome, and then by Arabs, none of whom were the original owners of that land, and now the world wishes to take Israel again away from the Jews. People don't wish to see themselves as wicked in this desire, and so they have to come up with a reason, and they create falsehoods about the Jews, or find actual misdeeds, which they give excess importance to or magnify in deed or number.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  10. gupsphoo

    These ultra-orthodox Jews are just as bad as Muslims.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Thinker23

      I have to disagree. There are many peaceful Muslims able and willing to co-exist with others. There are violent murderous fanatics willing to kill everyone who does not follow their demands sacrificing their own lives and the lives of their children in the process... There are Ultra-religious Jews who're doing many outrageous things but THEY DO NOT KILL ANYONE.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Norman

      Just as bad as Muslims? I agree when it comes to the special rights they demand to subjugate women.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Vman

      @Thinker23 – They have killed many times. Are you stupid or just ignorant of these facts? They are violent, they kill, they are extremist fundamentalists, just like Al-Qaeda. You should be tied up and handed over to them for torture for being so stupid.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Dandy

      >>There are Ultra-religious Jews who're doing many outrageous things but THEY DO NOT KILL ANYONE.<<
      Come on, they kill Palestinians every day. They subjugate Palestinians as second class citizens at best and put the rest in jail or barracade them into Gaza... Extremists are bad – which religion does not matter.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Theend

      NotThinking ??? Extremist Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories have killed Palestinians - and burned down mosques, destroyed olive groves, vineyards, stoned passing cars, defaced cemeteries, driven families from their homes and threatened lots of people - Arabs, Jews, the police... Don't make apologies for ethnic/religious bigots - these are serious hate crimes...

      January 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • bensmatch

      How can you say just as bad as Muslims? This shows your low level of education. It is because of ignorant people like the world is upside down. Go educate yourself first before making a stupid comment like this. There are always bad sheep in any religion whether Muslims or Jews. You cannot put everyone in the same basket because of mistakes of a few people.

      January 2, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Thinker23

      Vman... Calling your opponent 'stupid' works at the kindergarten level but it is not very effective in the elementary school and beyond when more solid arguments are expected. As (I hope) you've graduated from kindergarten already I expect you to show evidence of Orthodox Jews who "killed many times". Take your time.

      January 2, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Thinker23

      Theend... I'm afraid that you're confusing the extremist Israeli settlers with Ultra-Orthodox Jews. These two groups are NOT one and the same. Get a clue...

      January 2, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • md2205

      Orthodoxy does not subjugate women. That is a fallacy. Women are accorded high respect in Judaism and are treated well. The issue with the separate seating on buses is so laughable. It is a high level of modesty not to sit near a woman, or a woman near a man. Both men and women wish to sit separately. If both sides wish to behave that way, that is fine. The trouble comes when a woman who wishes to sit with the men comes along. What should the man do? The man really should get up and stand or find another seat if he doesn't want to sit with the woman on a public bus. He shouldn't impose his standards on the woman. However, in Israel, the orthodox Jews had hired their own buses and were sitting as they wished, separately. The Egged bus company saw profit in it and bought out those bus lines. They were intended to be kept the same, which is for these Jews. Now they come and say the Jews can't sit that way? But the Jews, both men and women, want to sit that way. It is really a non-issue, again, of people making trouble because it really has become in fashion to blame everything on the Jew, and on the Orthodox one in particular.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  11. Felix theNavidad

    There is a balm of Gilead

    January 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      A bomb! Duck and cover!

      January 1, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  12. Stan

    “Zionists are not Jews, they are racist"

    You can say that again

    January 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Zionists are those who believe that the Jews, just like any other ethnic group of people, have a right for self-determination. Anti-Zionists, therefore, are those claiming that the Jews, UNLIKE other people, DO NOT have a right for self-determination. This mean that the anti-Zionists DISCRIMINATE between the Jews and other peoples by their ethnicity. Ethnic or racial discrimination is RACISM by definition. It's NOT the Zionists who are racists. Anti-Zionists are.

      January 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Norman

      An anti-Zionist opposes a racist manifestation of Jewish self-determination: that Jews have a right to establish a Jewish state.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • D0ungue Schl0uoungus

      When was the last time you saw a Zionist who actually believed that, and didn't just believe that "Jews are better than other people and deserve more?"

      I used to be a Zionist because of what you're talking about – now I'm not, because the majority of self-proclaimed Zionists espouse exactly the kind of closed-minded, racist superiority that I mentioned.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Theend

      Preferring religious study to work, living off government/international welfare, propagating large numbers of offspring and demanding that your fellow citizens assume the burden of military service, taxation, etc. is not a sustainable socioeconomic or political system...

      January 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Joe Talmud OÇonnor

      Kook and troll. You would not know a racist unless you looked in a mirror. Btw, try to lose that gut. When was the last time you saw schmekel? 1983??

      January 2, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Floyd

      Sorry–no one out there to pray to. "These aren't the droids you're looking for. move along."

      January 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • prayermakesyoustupid

      god has a problem with women, intellectual freedom, and rational thought. prayer certainly changes things. it makes women into indentured servants, it burns books, it bans music, and it turns social progress back to the middle ages. please everyone, stop praying and start thinking for yourselves. if god were real, he'd be a terrible person.

      January 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer is the joy of the fullness of life
      Pray without ceasing in 2012

      January 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Atheism is just another kind of faith (religion) based on unrpovable belief that the world we live in came into existence all by itself from nothing.

      January 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Thinker23 – Don't call yourself a 'thinker' if you lack the ability to think. By your 'logic', not believing in the existence of Santa Clause must also be classified as a religion. BTW, if you're interested in the scientific explanation on how everything could come from nothing, read Stephen Hawking's 'The Grand Design'. It's good to learn something.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Gupsphoo... I did not ask for your interpretation of MY logic. Try to stick to YOURS. Did you disagree with something I've said? If so WHAT WAS IT?

      January 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Thinker23 – You're correct that you didn't ask for my opinion, but if you don't want anybody analyzing your so-called 'logic', don't post on a public forum.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Thinker23 – If you still don't understand what I said in my first reply to you, I can't help you.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Gupsphoo.... You're welcome to analyze MY logic, not YOUR interpretation of it. I'm asking you again: If you've disagreed with something I've said WHAT WAS IT?

      January 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Gugsphoo... As a matter of fact, you CAN help... No, not me but yourself by answering a simple question: As you may know most scientists are convinced that the Universe had a beginning known as the Big Bang that happened 13.7 billion years ago. This means that 13.7 billion years ago our Universe either was CREATED by someone having the knowledge and technology to create Universes or, alternatively, it came into existence all by itself, from nothing. Which one of these two possibilities look more plausible to you?

      January 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Gugsphoo... A friendly advice for the future: If you do not agree with someone don't start your reply by insulting your opponent or his cognitive abilities. He might actually know what he is talking about and you will look (and feel) as a fool.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Daniel

      Thinker: I respect your right to your logic. But your question is overly simplistic and somewhat flawed. You assume the Big Bang theory is correct and absolute. It's just a theory derived from mankind's CURRENT knowledge base. We are discovering new things about our universe constantly. If you base your argument on the premise of a theory, then your answer can always be right or always be wrong.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • tony

      Got a witnessed example? I can't think of any otherwise

      January 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do list all that prayer has changed and cite your proof, you boob.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer precedes miracles
      Speaking the Truth in love
      Prayer reveals the heart of God
      Prayer ushers man into the heavenly realms
      Pray without ceasing in the year of our Lord 2012

      January 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Thinker23...You believe that a being created the universe and you may have some knowledge of this...and was this being created out of nothing as well? The science is showing that the nothingness is seething with virtual particles and could account for the creation of the universe,,out of "nothing" You may need to look up come of the latest ideas and research but it should be interesting for you.

      January 2, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • fred

      It is never ending this search for nothing and claims the science has finally figured out that we did not come from the word of God rather particles that just happen. There is the core of this scientific falsehood. Notice science and atheists always ends up with a particle which is why atheist generally are materialists. An atheist can only see material / particles the explanation of which science is good at.
      God clearly states in his Word that it is faith that is pleasing to him not our scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge or materialism cannot explain the things of faith because that is the way God designed it and that is the way it is. To know God first you must begin the walk of faith then all that science cannot touch is revealed. It never works the other way . Every atheist on this board continues to prove Gods Word is true and they do not even realize it.

      January 2, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Thinker23

      Daniel and EvolvedDNA... Neither of you even attempted to answer my simple question, Which one of these two possibilities look more plausible to you? Was the Universe CREATED or it came into existence all by itself from nothing? and please, don't lecture me physics here. As I've said, assume that you're talking to a guy KNOWING what he is talking about.

      January 2, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • Thinker23

      Daniel... So you disagree with the CURRENT scientific theory because it does not agree with your BELIEFS? Sounds eerily familiar to me. Did not the Holy Inquisition use the same sort of "logic" against Galileo in the 16th Century?

      January 2, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Thinker23

      EvolvedDNA... As most non-specialists you're confusing NOTHINGNESS (which, probably, does not exist in our Universe) with SPACE or VACUUM which is part of the Universe and is filled with virtual particles, dark energy and, possibly, other things like superstrings and other cosmic imperfections. I was asking about the CREATION of the Universe (including space of vacuum) from NOTHINGNESS or, alternatively, spontaneous jump of the said Universe into existence from the said NOTHINGNESS.

      January 2, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • fred

      Nothingness does not exist yet there is non existence. Ok, you got me I am glad I have God to fill in that gap for me.

      January 2, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  14. mr\mrs garrison

    those extremist religious people drive me crazy. they don't work,don't serve in the army and now they mock the holocaust and try to undermine women rights.i have some news for them: you are going to be 30% of the country in a century.start working and behaving like normal people so our country won't consume itself.

    January 1, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • mr\mrs garrison

      what they do isn't torah.it is fanaticism fit for terrorists.

      January 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • togirl

      i don't understand why they would live in Israel if they don't recognize the state. I'm sure they don't mind taking handouts to suppor themselves while they study Torah and make babies!! Go live elsewhere; if you can't then do your duty to the state and pay taxes, work and GO TO THE ARMY.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • md2205

      The funny thing is that the Jews who live in Israel who do not recognize the government as a legitimate government also do not take handouts from that government. They do not take welfare, and do not take from the national insurance. It is a matter of principle for them. So people accusing them of living on welfare are just wrong.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  15. Leucadia Bob


    January 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  16. Meh

    They're right though, according to the laws of the Torah, they have different things they have to do. Unfortunately, the Torah is about 2000 years out of date. When God came to the world as Jesus Christ, he was originally meant just to save the Jews and remove the ridiculous weight on their shoulders of the 6 hundred and some odd laws they have to follow. Orthodox Judaism is actually technically against God's law, as God, through Christ, told the Jews, "The only way to Heaven is through Me." Meaning, with Christ as the intercessor, the Father as the Judge, and the Holy Spirit as the bringer of faith and hope, the trinity was meant to be the new Jewish faith. The Orthodox Jews did not accept it, so therefore, they are in error. The only Jews NOT in error are the Messianic Jews.

    January 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • JohnR

      Why did god change his mind about his laws? And why do so many Christians still cite Leviticus and Deuteronomy when they go gay bashing?

      January 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • madara

      I think 1+1+1 =3
      but according to your religion 1+1+1=1
      the bible is corrupted

      January 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Meh... Jesus Christ lived about 2000 years ago as well. Further, the Jews did and do believe in the Messiah and waiting for Him to come. The only problem they had with Jesus was that according to Judaism the Messiah is supposed to PROVE that He is indeed a Messiah. The fact that the Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah means that Jesus did not succeed in convincing them that He was indeed the Messiah.

      January 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • togirl

      We don't need Evangelical Christians to tell us our religion. We don't believe in JC, and all those 'quotes' you mentioned were WRITTEN BY MEN, hundreds of years after Christ. Who was a Jew btw.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • md2205

      G-d gave the Jews the Torah, giving it to Moses with all the Jewish nation watching. They were 3 million Jews at the time. The Torah says this 24 times. Now what is someone supposed to think when one person, a thousand years later, says "G-d told me you don't have to do what the Torah says anymore." Did anyone see G-d tell him this? No. Did anyone see Mohammed go up to the heavens on his horse and get the Koran from G-d, as he says happened? There were no witnesses to that either. But in the Torah, it says 24 times that all the Jewish nation saw Moses get the Torah from G-d – 3 million of them. Who would you rather believe – something that 3 million people saw, or one person who says something happened that only he saw? And why, if G-d really changed His mind, even after promising the Jews an eternal covenant (promise) that they are His people and He is their G-d, did He not gather them all again and tell them they have to believe in J. now? How are the Jews supposed to feel? That G-d told them all one thing and then changed his mind and forgot to tell them? One person coming to tell them doesn't cut it, bud.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • md2205

      The Messiah is described in Jewish law by Maimonides. He is a man who is a king, a descendant of King David, who fights the wars of G-d and brings the Jewish people back to observance of the Torah. J. is not a descendant of King David because he didn't have a father. He told the Jews not to do the Torah. How could G-d punish the Jews for not accepting J. as Messiah when he doesn't fit the criteria G-d gave them to determine who the Messiah is.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  17. Stan

    All a Jew has to do is invoke the holocaust and people let them do anything, even steal country and ethnically cleanse to this day

    January 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • mr\mrs garrison

      you clearly don't know sh!t about the middle east.

      January 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Stan... Can you NAME the COUNTRY Jews have stolen? In addition, can you SHOW THE LEGAL DEEDS proving that the country stolen by Jews belongs to someone else? It's unfortunate but If you're unable to answer these questions I'll have to call you A LIAR.

      January 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  18. JohnR

    Oh god, another group that feels oppressed because they aren't allowed to oppress others. Clowns.

    January 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  19. tony

    The Taliban virus is spreading . . .

    January 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  20. Peppermint Patty

    This nonsense is the inevitable outcome of fundamentalism, involved in civil affairs. Just when you think the crazies can't get any worse, along comes someone MORE crazy. Beware Christian fundies. This is what's going to happen in your Christian state.

    January 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
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About this blog

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.