Satmar group slams Trump's recognition of Jerusalem

Rabbi Aharon Teitelboim of Satmar slams Trump's declaration. 'The Zionist state is not a Jewish state and is not recognized by Jews.'

Tzvi Lev,

Satmar Rebbe
Satmar Rebbe
Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

The head of one of the two rival groups of the staunchly anti-Zionist Satmar Hassidic movement ripped into President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital last week.

Satmar, known as one of the most dogmatically anti-Zionist Hassidic sects, refuses to recognize the State of Israel and calls on members living in Israel not to vote in national elections, even for haredi parties and not to accept any funding from the state, including National Insurance payments. Satmar, however, does care for the welfare of Jews and runs the free meals for those staying in hospitals for Shabbat to care for loved ones.

Speaking before thousands of his followers at a celebration on Saturday night at the New York Expo Center in the Bronx, the head of one of the two Satmar groups that split after the previous Grand Rabbi's death, Rebbe Aharon Teitelboim, said that Trump had no right to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"We declare in the name of haredi Judaism: Jerusalem, the holy city, will not be the capital of the Zionist state, even if the President of the United States says it is," said Teitelboim.

"Just as haredi Jews did not recognize President Truman's declaration in 1948 that Israel is the Jewish State, we don't recognize it today."

"Jerusalem is a holy city, a city of piety," Teitelboim continued. "Zionism is the opposite of fearing God and Torah, and it has nothing to do with the city of Jerusalem."

The Satmar Rabbi Aaron group is not the only haredi movement unhappy with Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem. The Neturei Karta, a small, extremist haredi faction which was ostracized by mainstream haredi groups over its support for then-PLO chief Yasser Arafat, and which vehemently opposes the existence of a Jewish state, said last week that they may have to leave Israel due to Trump's announcement.

"The [previous] Satmar Rebbe said that once they feel that it is impossible to live here as a haredi Jew, then they must flee from here," Yoel 'Yoelish' Kraus, an anti-Zionist figure with ties to the Neturei Karta movement, told the Kikar Hashabbat Hebrew news site.

"As long as that point was not reached, they could stay. And they kept saying, 'another year.' and then 'another year,' and they said that the situation had not yet reached the breaking point. But if there is recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then we have reached the breaking point. It cannot get any worse."

The other Satmar faction, headed by Rabbi Zalman Leib, has not publicized a reaction to President Trump's Jerusalem declaration.