Following on from our comments on the story about the fuss some Israeli politicians were making for receiving a copy of the Holy Bible in Hebrew, one far right member of the Israeli parliament has destroyed his copy in front of the cameras.
MK Michael Ben Ari of the Religious Right Wing National Union party, chose to defile the holy book of another faith in front of the camera, citing persecution he believes was caused by the New Testament, as justification for his act.
However, while most MK’s chose to ignore the book or return it to its sender, the rightist lawmaker chose to term the book a “provocation,” tore it up into shreds and then threw it out.
“This abominable book (the New Testament) galvanized the murder of millions of Jews during the Inquisition and during auto da fe instances,” Ben Ari said adding that “Sending the book to MK’s is a provocation. There is no doubt that this book and all it represents belongs in the garbage can of history.”
However his excuse did not wash with the government who gave this unequivocal response:
Government spokesman Mark Regev said, “We totally deplore this behavior and condemn it outright. This action stands in complete contrast to our values and our traditions. Israel is a tolerant society, but we have zero tolerance for this despicable and hateful act.”
The Jerusalem Post also reported that Knesset member Masud Gnaim (a Muslim) commented on the issue:
“I got a copy of the New Testament in the mail, too, but I never thought to rip it up or burn it,” “As a Muslim, I respect all religions’ holy books.”
The Knesset’s only Christian MK called for legal action against Ben Ari:
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein should press incitement charges against MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) for tearing a New Testament and throwing it in the trash, the Knesset’s sole Christian MK, Hanna Sweid (Hadash), said Wednesday.
The ADL also commented:
In a statement by the Anti-Defamation League, the organization said it “was horrified” by the act and called on Ben-Ari to publicly apologize for his actions.
“As Jews, we expect others to treat our holy books with respect and understanding,” said Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL’s national director. “We should likewise show respect for the holy books of other faiths.”
Foxman said that “a member of parliament and a representative of the State of Israel ” was even more obligated than the average person to act with respect. ”His actions run counter to Jewish values and the standards of Israel’s democratic society,” Foxman said.
The MK is not alone in his desecration of the New Testament
Amnon Yitzhak, a leading Rabbi officiated at the ritual burning of a New Testament here.
Anti-Christian organisation Jewish Israel encourages New Testament burning here.
MIna Fenton, former Jerusalem councilor advocated burning Christian books here.
Chief Rabbi of Kiriat Motzkin claims New Testament too dangerous to keep at home and should be burnt, here.
Mayor of Ohr Yehuda burnt New Testaments in public, here