||Neturei Karta , group of ultrareligious extremists, mainly in Jerusalem, who regard the establishment of a secular Jewish state in Erez Israel as a sin and a denial of G-d, and therefore do not recognize the State of Israel. Their name, which is Aramaic for "guardians of the City," derives from a passage in the Jerusalem Talmud (Hag. 76:3) stating that religious scholars are the guardians and defenders of the city. Neturei Karta broke away from Agudat Israel in 1935, when the latter attempted to restrain extremist demands for an independent ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem community completely separate from the rest of the "Zionist" community. The group first adopted the name Hevrat ha-Hayyim, after R. Joseph Hayyim Sonnenfeld. It aimed at creating "a circle free from the influence of the contemporary spirit and its fallacious opinions," and a condition of membership was "the education of sons and daughters in the traditional Jewish manner, without any change (girls' schools which teach Hebrew do not provide education in the traditional Jewish manner)." The last phrase alluded to Agudat Israel's Bet Ya'akov girls' schools, where the language of instruction is Hebrew.
The most consistent members refuse to accept an Israel identity card, to recognize the competence of Israel courts, and to vote in municipal or general elections. Although they consist of only a few dozen families - concentrated in the Me'ah She'arim quarter of Jerusalem and in Bene Berak - they gained some support in wider Orthodox circles by creating periodic religious controversies, such as their demonstrations against Sabbath violation and mixed bathing. In 1966 Neturei Karta split, following the marriage of their leader R. Amram Blau to a French actress and convert, Ruth Ben-David.
R. Ezekiel Sarna (1889–1969), rosh yeshivah in Israel. Born in Gorodok, Lithuania, R. Sarna was the son of R. Jacob Hayyim Sarna, the Maggid ("preacher") of Slonim and a close associate of R. Hayyim Soloveitchik. At an early age Ezekiel was accepted in the famous yeshivah of Slobodka, Lithuania, where he became known as the illui ("child prodigy") of Gorodok. He was particularly influenced by the method of study and moral inspiration of the heads of the yeshivah - the Sabba of Slobodka, R. Nathan Zevi Finkel, and R. Moses Mordecai Epstein. When World War I broke out, the Slobodka yeshivah was transferred from Kovno to Kremenchug in the Ukraine. In this period Sarna studied under R. Israel Meir ha-Kohen (Hafez-Hayyim). His marriage to R. Epstein's daughter accorded Sarna, already distinguished by his talent and profound acumen, a special status. After the war the yeshivah returned to Slobodka, where R. Sarna was appointed a lecturer. Following the Balfour Declaration, the third wave of aliyah got under way, and R. Epstein decided (1924) to transfer the Slobodka yeshivah to Erez Israel. For this purpose he sent R. Sarna to choose a site. R. Sarna selected Hebron, where he immediately became one of the heads of the yeshivah and was mainly responsible for its development. About a year later R. Finkel and R. Epstein joined the yeshivah. On the death of his father-in-law in 1927, R. Sarna was appointed rosh yeshivah, a position he held until his death. The yeshivah attracted students from all parts of the world and, at the time of its destruction in the pogrom of 1929, had 265 students. R. Sarna reestablished the yeshivah in Jerusalem as the Hebron Yeshivah. Under R. Sarna's guidance it again flourished. His talmudic and musar discourses achieved a reputation in the yeshivah world and Hebron Yeshivah developed into one of the largest and most important Torah centers in Israel, continuing the educational and musar methods of the great Lithuanian yeshivot. As a leader of the Va'ad ha-Yeshivot, R. Sarna was mainly preoccupied by his own and other yeshivot, but was also actively interested in national problems. He was a member of the Mo'eZet Gedolei ha-Torah, the supreme religious institution of Agudat Israel. He held independent views on political matters, both local and foreign, and on occasion addressed his opinions to the prime minister and members of the Israel government, attempting by virtue of his personality to influence the political, social, and religious life of the state. He was instrumental in obtaining exemption from military service for yeshivah students. R. Sarna had a unique style in halakhah and musar, and published a number of books, including commentaries on R. Judah Halevi's Kuzari (1965), on the Orhot Hayyim by R. Asher b. Jehiel (1957, 1962), and on Mesillat Yesharim (1957, 1965) by R. Moses Hayyim Luzzatto. He left many manuscripts on halakhah and Jewish thought. Despite an illness in his last years, he undertook the establishment of the new yeshivah center, Kiryat Hevron, in southern Jerusalem.