Leaders of the anti-Zionist Satmar hassidic sect were enraged after an Israeli Satmar girls summer camp was spotted visiting an IDF museum, Behadrei Haredim reports.
The Armoured Corps Museum in Latrun, near Modiin, is built on the site of a famous battle during the War for Independence in 1948 and memorializes Israel's tank corps. Early this week, photos surfaced of hundreds of hassidic girls enjoying a field trip at the site, which caused widespread condemnation throughout the anti-Israel community.
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.
Following an outcry from followers in both Israel and the United States, the Satmar leadership in Israel released a statement apologizing for the visit, and explained that the girls had entered the tank museum because it was the only way to get to the nearby Latrun Park.
"When the students with the buses arrived there, they were not allowed to enter through there, but were brought down through the entrance of the impure army museum near the park," read the missive.
"As soon as the teachers noticed that the place was not suitable for the students of our institutions, the teachers tried to take the students out of the park's entrance through the entrance of the park, which would not pass through the museum of the impure army."
The letter stressed that "the next day, camp administrators published a special announcement to all the students who were at the army museum telling them it was a mistake and done unknowingly".