Ultra-conservative Jews adopt Nazi theme

Jan. 1, 2012 at 11:43 AM

JERUSALEM, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- The use of Nazi symbols and Holocaust prisoner uniforms by protesting ultra-Orthodox Jews in a Jerusalem neighborhood sparked a national outcry Sunday.

The ongoing religious and political crusade by the sect known as Haredi in Jerusalem's Shabbat Square by 1,500 ultra-Orthodox men Saturday night featured adults and children wearing Nazi-era yellow badges with the German term "Jude," meaning Jew, and others wearing striped uniforms worn by Jews at Nazi death camps, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Some of the men carried signs with slogans such as "Zionists are not Jews" and "Zionism is racism," the report said.

Politicians from across the spectrum were quick to denounce the demonstration and the Haredi platform.

"Putting on yellow badges on children is a gross offense to Holocaust remembrance," Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni said on her Facebook page, Haaretz reported.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai, himself a member of the Haredi community, told Haaretz he was offended.

"I am opposed to the use of Holocaust symbolism in demonstrations," he said.

The simmering religious and political issue came to the forefront last week when television coverage showed ultra-Orthodox men harassing an 8-year-old girl on her way to school.

The Haredi sect is fundamentalist and says it adheres strictly to the Torah, including the exclusion of women in public life.

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