PASSINGS: Moshe Hirsch

Moshe Hirsch

Anti-Zionist, U.S.-born rabbi

Moshe Hirsch, 86, an American-born anti-Zionist rabbi and close associate of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died Sunday in Jerusalem, said Eida Haredit, an umbrella group of anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox Jewish sects.


Hirsch was a leading figure in Neturei Karta, a tiny ultra-Orthodox sect that opposes Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and has embraced its enemies. He was born in New York and attended a rabbinical academy in New Jersey.

Arafat, who died in 2004, appointed Hirsch as his advisor on Jewish affairs.

The group is known for its members’ 2006 trip to Iran, where they embraced President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a Holocaust-denying conference. It also supports Gaza’s Hamas rulers and the Lebanese Hezbollah militants.

These alliances have drawn criticism even from other anti-Zionist Jewish groups, which believe that only the Messiah can establish a Jewish state.


Neturei Karta, which is Aramaic for “Guardians of the City,” was founded about 70 years ago in Jerusalem by Jews who opposed the drive to establish the state of Israel. Estimates of the group’s size range from a few hundred to a few thousand. Hirsch was the son-in-law of the group’s founder, Rabbi Aharon Katzenelbogen.

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

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