Amram Blau

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Amram Blau (1894–1974) was a Haredi rabbi from the Hungarian community of Jerusalem. He was one of the founders of the fiercely Anti-Zionist Neturei Karta.

Blau was born in Jerusalem, and grew up in the Meah Shearim neighbourhood. Like his brother Rabbi Moshe Blau who was a leader in the Agudat Israel movement, he was also active in the Aguda during the British Mandate era and was the editor of its newspaper, Kol Israel (Voice of Israel).[1] But when the Aguda began to lean towards a modus vivendi with the Zionist leaders, Blau claimed that the Aguda had sold out to the Zionist movement and in 1937 broke away and founded Neturei Karta.[2]

Anti-Zionism[edit]

After the establishment of the State of Israel, Neturei Karta continued its staunch opposition to a Jewish state, in agreement with the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, author of the anti-Zionist Vayoel Moshe which advocated non-recognition of the State of Israel on theological grounds. Prior to the Six-Day War, Blau even went so far as to propose moving to Jordanian controlled East Jerusalem to avoid the secular temptations of modern Israel.[3]

He was imprisoned many times for demonstrating against public violations of Shabbat, the conscription of religious women, the opening of a mixed-sex swimming pool, and other government policies. Most of his sentences were served at the Russian Compound, but he also did a five-month stint at Ramla prison. On two occasions he went out in public wearing sackcloth as a sign of protest.[4]

Controversy on his second marriage[edit]

Blau's first wife, Hinda (née Weber), died in 1963. Because of an injury he sustained from shrapnel during the siege of Jerusalem in 1948 he could not remarry a woman who had been born Jewish.[5] In 1965 he married Ruth Ben-David, a convert. Born Madeleine Ferraille to a Catholic family in Calais, and educated at the Sorbonne, she had been a member of the French Resistance during World War II. With the founding of Israel in 1948 she became interested in Zionism and then in Orthodox Judaism; within a few years she divorced her husband and converted to Judaism, but eventually abandoned her Zionist views in favor of the anti-Zionist views of Satmar.[6] The match was opposed by Blau's two adult sons[2] and by the rabbinical court of the Edah HaChareidis, so the couple had to move to Bnei Brak,[7] but a year later they returned to Meah Shearim.[2][8][9]

Blau died in 1974. He was interred at Har HaMenuchot. Ruth Blau continued to act as an independent wing of Neturei Karta.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zimmer, Uriel. "The Guardians of the City". Neturei Karta International. Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  2. ^ a b c Odenheimer, Micha (Spring 2006). "We Do Not Believe We Will Not Follow". Guilt and Pleasure (2). 
  3. ^ "Fifty Years Ago in the Forward". The Forward. 2006-09-22. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  4. ^ 1974 interview with Yitzchak Kahan, published in Sha'ah Tovah, 10 July 2009.
  5. ^ Deuteronomy 23:2; Shulhan Arukh Even Haezer 5
  6. ^ Cashman, Greer Fay (3 March 2000). "No stranger to controversy". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 19 January 2001. 
  7. ^ "The Lost Leader". Time. 1965-09-10. Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  8. ^ "Neturei Karta Leader Adamant to Marry the Convert Ruth Ben David". Davar (in Hebrew). 14 July 1965. 
  9. ^ "Amram Blau Married to Ruth Ben David". Davar (in Hebrew). 3 September 1965.