Satmar mayor praises Obama


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A leader of the anti-Zionist Satmar Chasidic movement praised President Obama’s Middle East policy.

"You have set out to stop the senseless bloodshed in the Middle East and to bring equitable and lasting peace to millions who have sadly never known it," Abraham Wieder, the mayor of Kiryas Joel, a Satmar enclave in New York, wrote in a letter to the president.

With 20,000 residents, Kiryas Joel is the largest all-Jewish town in the United States.

"As an American of the Jewish faith, and as mayor of the largest village inhabited by Orthodox Jews, I am writing to support your noble efforts," Wieder wrote.

Wieder goes on to explain his movement’s view that Jews are prohibited from "conquering the land" of Israel and must wait for the Messiah to re-create Israel.

A news release announcing the letter states that the missive was written "in reaction to the anti-Obama rhetoric of some religious pro-settler organizations" angry about U.S. demands for a settlement freeze.

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