Jerusalem - Rav Amram Blau's Interview Before His Death
Jerusalem - Fifteen tapes were recently discovered containing thirty hours of interviews by Rav Amram Blau, the founder and head of the Neturei Karta, to an American journalist several months before his death in 1974. The article contains fascinating insights into the Neturei Karta’s struggle against the Zionists and life in Yerushalayim at the beginning of the twentieth century. The following are several interesting pieces from the interview:
How Hashem Hu Malkeinu Was Composed
Immediately after the State was founded, several of our young men were arrested for “evading the draft”. They composed the song “Hashem Hu Malkeinu” while in prison. I view that as a miracle, because they knew nothing about music.
The song goes (in English) Hashem is our King, and we are his servants. Our holy Torah is our law and we are loyal to it. We don’t recognize the regime of the heretics, we don’t accept their authority, we do not submit to their government, and their laws do not obligate us. We will go in the Torah’s way, in fire and water, to glorify and sanctify the Name of Heaven.
We sing it during our affairs and celebrations..
Every time I sat in jail, the police wanted to hear the song. They would stand around me and I would sing the song.
Reb Amram Blau in Prison
I said a shiur for the prisoners who came to shul. Once, policemen entered and without me realizing it, they snapped me saying the shiur and printed the picture in their organ newspaper.
Spector was the prison director. Although he was a Zionist, he was a gentleman who treated me decently. He said that when I’m in prison, the other prisoners behave better and he doesn’t suffer from their quarrels and brawls.
The prison published a wall newspaper called “Patience.” The director asked me to write an article for the newspaper. I wrote a short article quoting Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai’s words before his death: “I would be afraid if I was being brought to a human king who doesn’t imprison a person for life, and when he puts to death, it’s not forever. But now that I am being taken to the King of kings, who can imprison forever, and kill forever, how much more so should I be afraid!” I meant it as inspiration for the upcoming Day of Judgment. When you sit in prison, it’s a little easier to feel it. They made it the main feature in the newspaper.”
I was in the Ramle prison for five months for demonstrating over the women’s army draft, and the mixed swimming pool.. The director apologized to me for not having a place to daven, and he gave us a room. In the beginning, we had just a minyan, but by the time we left, there were 70 people regularly davening.
If the Zionists Would Offer the State to the Chareidim
Journalist: I want to ask a hypothetical question. If they would come in the middle of the day and tell the chareidim ‘We’re giving the State to you, do with it what you want.’ What would you do?
Rav Amram: We would take it for a short while and then tell the Arabs, “We have no dispute with you. You can live here. Whoever wants can come live here,
Journalist: But if the Arabs would come, wouldn’t they kill all the Jews?
Rav Amram: G-d forbid. If we would speak that way to them, they wouldn’t kill us. They want to kill only because we forcibly rule them. But if you don’t want to occupy them, they wouldn’t be like that.
The Zionists want to rule over them, but not us. In our eyes, they are no different than the goyim of Switzerland and America. Once Arabs can come and do as they like, they won’t mind that there are even more Jews than them. The Arabs are not worse than any other non-Jews.
Journalist: But everyone knows their brutality when they manage to get ahold of a Jew!
Rav Amram: I’ll tell you the facts and what the situation was like with the Arabs. I lived 18 years under the Turkish government. It never happened that a goy killed a Jew. I ran the Ramasayim Tzofim company, and when they came to our home to sell land, etc. they would stand outside the door. For just one shilling, even their mukhtar would bow his head and you could step all over him. That was the situation of the Arabs then. The Pasha (Ahmad Jemal Pasha—the Turkish ruler of Eretz Yisroel) would pass by our door every day. He traveled in a carriage pulled by horses.
I remember one event. I went with my brother-in-law in the night, and an Arab hit him in the back with a stick. During 18 years, I almost can’t remember another such event. Due to our many sins, the Zionists taught the Jews to act worse than Arabs. When the Jews ran out of the Old City, the Arabs followed them shouting “Deir Yassin! Deir Yassin!” They meant that they weren’t harming the Jews despite the Zionists attacking the Arabs in Deir Yassin and slaughtering even expecting women there. They carried out a pogrom there, something the Jews have never done anywhere in the world.
I met one of the senior Arab leaders. I don’t remember what his name was, and he told me, “The Jews were missing nothing in Syria and Morocco and other Arab countries! They did very well there!”
If someone would come and push you out of your home, take the key to the money box and act like the owner, would you agree to that?
Journalist: If the Arabs aren’t any worse than any other people, why did the Arabs kill the yeshiva students in Chevron?
Rav Amram: When I was 7 years old, I spent a month in Chevron with another few Jews. I stayed by Rev Zalman Shochet. It wasn’t like in Yerushalayim. There were only a few courtyards where just a few hundreds of Jews lived, but they weren’t afraid. I had a cousin named Naftali Chaimson who owned a store among all the non-Jewish stores.
All the problems in Chevron began after the Balfour Declaration. But before the Zionists came, we lived together. The Arabs killed the yeshiva students in Chevron because the Zionists made it clear when they came here that they planned to conquer and take it over.
The Neturei Karta Hasn’t Grown; the Zionists are Increasing
Journalist: We have to think about what will be with the next generation. The reality shows that the Neturei Karta hasn’t grown, and the Aida Hachareidis hasn’t expanded either. This is true for all chareidi Jews in general, while we see that the Zionists are growing from day to day and they have immense power.
Rav Amram: Now is a time of trial. The situation is that Yiddishkeit is destroyed. The situation together is grave, and much feeling and yiras shomayim is missing.
Rav Amram On Demonstrations:
Even children know today that when you have a battle spirit for Shabbos and tznius, and you protest against breaches and fight the policemen, these protests help other places in the world.
In the U.S., there were hotels that had mixed swimming, and important people would rent a room there and didn’t feel anything was wrong with it. When we make protests here, it puts a swimming pool in a U.S. hotel in a negative light. An important person will be ashamed to go to a hotel with mixed swimming after the commotion we made about it.
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