OU Disavows Pamphlet Claiming Vatican-Hezbollah Conspiracy

Booklet distributed to IDF troops by Orthodox group's staff says Vatican teaching Hezbollah how to kill Jews.

The Orthodox Union has apologized for the publication of a booklet its staff distributed to Israeli soldiers, implying that the Vatican organizes tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to kill Jews.

The New York-based group said in statement that endorsement of the book was unauthorized and that it regretted its involvement.

The OU has subsequently rescinded the endorsement and "disavow[ed] any connection to the views expressed in it."

Monday's statement came on the heels of a Haaretz report about the book, which purports to be the testimony of "a Hezbollah officer who spied for Israel," and was published by the OU in cooperation with the chief rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu.

"Upon investigation," the group stated, "it has been ascertained that this endorsement was made by staff at the OU's Israel branch office, and was never submitted to, nor approved by, senior Orthodox Union management."

While maintaining that the Haaretz report "sensationalized the book's contents," the OU admitted "there is no doubt that some of what it contains is antithetical to the well-known views of the OU regarding respect for other faiths and their leaders... The Orthodox Union expresses its sincere regret to those of other faiths who may have been embarrassed or offended by the publication of this work."

The religious group's senior leadership has ordered an internal review to ensure ?that such a situation is not repeated," the statement continued.

According to the book, "On Either Side of the Border," Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was invited to join a delegation touring France, Poland, Italy and the Vatican, as the narrator explained he knew the pope "identified with Hezbollah?s struggle."

The booklet, which an Eliahu aid says is factual, also implies that European politicians and journalists ostensibly work against Israel.