Neturei Karta Haunt Israeli Official
Members of extremist group protest outside IAA Representative’s home.
Anti-Israel and anti-Zionism messages have hit the streets of Toronto.
Members of Neturei Karta, an extremist Haredi group whose members believe that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Messiah, conducted two protests in Toronto in the last two weeks. Both protests took place outside the apartment building in which Israel Antiquities Authority Representative to Canada Yaen Vered resides (in the Yonge & Sheppard area).
Vered told Shalom Life that he has been the subject of harassment by members of Neturei Karta because of the digging up of grave sites that had taken place in Ashkelon and Tel Aviv. He said that the harassment began with a phone call that he received on June 25.
“I got a phone call from someone who identified himself as Friedman from the Bronx who argued with me about graves. A half an hour later I got another phone call from someone named Ya’akov Katz from Toronto.”
According to Vered, the first protest happened on June 28. “One of them came into the building and told the receptionist that he wants to speak to me. She almost let him upstairs but at the last moment called me. I told her not to let him up and I came downstairs. When I got down to the lobby I saw him sitting there and he started arguing with me about graves. I explained the whole story to him but he wouldn’t listen. I offered to come to his synagogue and explain everything to his community, but he said there’s no need because the people outside will speak to me. I asked which people outside and he invited me to come outside and see.”
When Vered went outside he found five Neturei Karta members holding signs who started arguing with him. Vered subsequently called the police who sent the protesters away.
Vered thought it was over, but on the night between Sunday and Monday he received another phone call from a woman in London about the same issue. The woman also called Tom Ungar, President of the Israel Antiquities Authority-Friends in Canada.
On Tuesday, once again Vered received a visit from a Neturei Karta member who this time knocked on the door of his apartment. “I sent him away and when I went downstairs to see what was going on, I saw a group of ten people protesting,” said Vered. “Today there were more people than there were during the first protest. They started near the Tim Hortons and Shoppers Drug Mart who threatened to call the police, so they moved and stood outside the building. They used a megaphone and disturbed everyone.”
Eventually, building security sent the protesters away, but not before they distributed flyers in which members of Neturei Karta who were beaten up by the Zionist police, as they claim, are shown. The flyers promise “massive protests” next week.
“Most of this is about things which aren’t even true, such as support by the IAA of the grave digging in Ashkelon and Tel Aviv,” said Vered. “In Ashkelon it was proven that the graves belonged to Pagans, and in Tel Aviv the digging was done by Tel Aviv University.”
He added that the protesters mostly came from the Bronx, but some from Montreal. They spoke in English and Yiddish. Vered described the group as divided into two types of people: Those who were willing to listen and those who argued no matter what was said to them. “They said things such as, ‘You are destroying Judaism, you built a state without permission from God.’
“One Holocaust survivor came up to them, showed them the number tattooed on his arm and asked them where they were when the Yeshiva students in Poland were killed first,” described Vered. “They answered him that the Holocaust did not occur because of God but because of the Zionists. In fact many people came up to them, not just Jews, and argued with them.
“The main problem is that these protests took place outside an apartment building. If you want to protest, do it outside an office building or the consulate, but not outside an apartment building,” said Vered.