On Tuesday morning the country woke up to horrific slogans sprayed by anonymous persons in the entrance to Yad Vashem, in the Warsaw Ghetto Square, and further on, near the impressive cattle-car monument in the Jerusalem forest. The graffiti statements left no doubt regarding the perpetrator’s view of the connection between the Zionist movement and the Holocaust. For example, “Hitler, the Zionist movement thanks you. It was thanks to you that we received a state from the UN” was signed, “Ultra-Orthodox World Jewry.”
I was there on Tuesday, and the atrocity needs no further details. The disrespect toward the Holocaust, the ugliness and the vandalization all scream in contrast to the quiet that normally descends on those who come to visit Yad Vashem. But the truth is, I was not surprised. Anyone who walks around the alleyways of the extremist ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and reads their study books sees everything written out in black-and-white on the written page — not only on the wall. According to entire movements of ultra-Orthodox Jewry, the Zionist movement is to blame for the Holocaust or initiated it. That is because the Zionists “forced the End,” meaning they forced the world to accept the State of Israel, thus bringing about the End of Days before its time. Since the state was born in sin, without authorization or Godly permission, it is fated to disappear from the world.
About half a year ago, an adherent of the Toldos Aharon sect, a strongly anti-zionist Hassidic movement, gave me a book entitled Only You are our Redeemer — A Collection of Articles Regarding Exile and Redemption and Eretz Israel. Rabbi Yoel Moshe of Satmar writes there, “[The Zionists] convinced the nation to transgress the vow of ‘forcing the End;’ they took Kingship and Freedom before the appointed time. As a result, six million members of the Jewish people were killed, to our great misfortune.”
In addition to this, the book states that even the survivors were brought by the Zionists to Israel only to kill them here. The Gaon (Rabbi Yitzchak Zeev Halevi Soloveitchik) of Brisk, one of the most important of the Toldos Aharon rabbis writes, “they took the surviving remnants of the Holocaust, that never learned how to shoot firearms, straight from the boats that brought them to Eretz Israel [the Land of Israel] to fight bitter battles in the area of Latrun, where hundreds of Jews were killed ... They bring Jews to be killed, and call it ‘ingathering of the exiles.’”
Last January, in the wake of their attempt at sex segregation of sidewalks and busses, the ultra-Orthodox put up a horrifying display on Kikar Shabbat Square. Hundreds of people stood there wearing the yellow star and forced their children to raise their arms in submission as if they were in Auschwitz. Young and old people wearing striped prison uniforms were loaded onto a truck where they waved signs saying “Zionism equals Nazism.” The message was clear. The same Zionist movement that was responsible for the Holocaust is now replaying its devastation on the ultra-Orthodox, who are of course the "real" Jews. According to these extremists, the Zionists are trying to infiltrate their world, impose a new order on them and divert them from Judaism to the disastrous secular world.
It is important to note that this is a minority group. Most of the ultra-Orthodox community dissociates themselves from these slogans, spectacles and books. Only the extremist anti-Zionistic ultra-Orthodox Jews have no problems acting this way. The ones responsible for the Holocaust are, they believe, the same people who established the State of Israel and are now fighting the segregation of sidewalks and busses. From their point of view, we should be the ones to apologize to them for the Holocaust, not them to us for their misuse and defamation of its symbols.