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

Blau was born in Jerusalemmarker, and grew up in the Meah Shearimmarker neighbourhood as a proponent of Torah observant Judaism. Like his brother Rabbi Moshe Blau who was a leader in the Aguda, he was also active in the Aguda during the British Mandate era and was the editor of its organ "Kol Israel" (Voice of Israel). But when the Aguda began to lean towards a modus vivendi with the Zionist leaders he with Rabbi Aaron Katzenellenbogen claimed that the Aguda had sold out to the Zionist movement and in 1937 broke away and founded Neturei Karta.

After the establishment of the State of Israelmarker, 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 he even went so far as to propose moving to Jordanianmarker controlled East Jerusalem to avoid the secular temptations of modern Israel.

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 Compoundmarker, but he also did a five-month stint at Ramlamarker prison. On two occasions he went out in public wearing sackcloth as a sign of protest.

A coupon dated Adar 5712 for "one ordinary piece of sugar".
He refused to use Israeli currency, and instead issued his own private currency to use for charity and barter, in the form of coupons redeemable for specified goods. These coupons were numbered on the back, and stated that they were redeemable every Monday and Thursday between 4 and 6 p.m. at the Kehal Yere'im Chassidim study hall.

Blau's first wife, Hinda, died in 1963. Because of an injury he sustained, either from shrapnel during the siege of Jerusalem in 1948 or at the hands of Israeli police at a Shabbat demonstration in the 1950s, he could not remarry a woman who had been born Jewish. In 1965 he married Ruth Ben-David, a convert. Born Madeleine Ferraille to a Catholic family in Calaismarker, and educated at the Sorbonnemarker, she had been a member of a French Resistance during World War II. After the war she went into the textile business and invested in real estate, but was cheated by a partner, lost her fortune, and spent a year in prison on charges related to French laws on foreign currency transactions. 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 favour of the anti-Zionist views of Satmar. The match was opposed by Blau's two adult sons and by the Rabbinical Court of the Edah HaChareidis, so the couple had to move to Bnei Brakmarker, but a year later they returned to Meah Shearim.

Blau died in 1974. Ruth Blau continued to act as an independent wing of Neturei Karta; after the Iranian revolution she cultivated a relationship with the Ayatollah Khomeini.

As of 2008, the relationship between the Edah HaChareidis and those who follow in the footsteps of Rabbi Amram Blau has become much better. On his yahrtzeit, which in 2008 fell on the 18th of July on the Georgian calendar, a commemorative gathering was held in the main beis medrash of the Mishkenos HoRoim Hasidic group, which is one of the smaller Hasidic groups in the Edah HaChareidis. Rabbi Amram Blau used to pray in their beis medrash regularly. Their yeshiva is called Mesivasa DeRav Amrom, after him.

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References

  1. Uriel Zimmer The Guardians of the City (Neturei Karta International) Accessed: January 22, 2007.
  2. Fifty Years Ago in the Forward (The Forward) September 22, 2006 Accessed: November 19, 2009.
  3. 1974 interview with Yitzchak Kahan, published in Sha'ah Tovah, 10 July 2009
  4. Deuteronomy 23:2; Shulchan Aruch EH 5
  5. The Lost Leader (Time Magazine) September 10, 1965 Accessed: January 22, 2007.



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