|Jewish Deputy Mayor apologizes for Bible-burning|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Friday, 23 May 2008 10:48|
The Jewish Deputy Mayor of Or Yehuda has publicly apologized for the burning of hundreds of New Testaments in his town, after he urged Orthodox Jews to confiscate books that had been distributed by Messianic Jews in the area. Uzi Aharon had initially defended the action of the yeshiva boys when he first heard about the incident, describing it as "purging the evil among us". In an interview with the Maariv newspaper, Aharon said he did not condemn the book-burning but that he did condemn those who distributed them, stating it was a "commandment" for Jews to burn materials that urge them to convert to Christianity. But following international condemnation of the act, he later claimed that he was sorry for the burning, and that he only arrived at the scene after the fire had been started. He also said he was unaware that Christians might have found the burning of the New Testaments offensive.
Quote: "Bible Society in Israel director Victor Kalisher, whose organization printed the Bibles burned in Or Yehuda, responded to the incident: "What worries me is that nobody has stood up against this," said Kalisher, the son of Holocaust survivors, to the Post. "It seems there is a war against messianic Jews in Israel." Kalisher argues that Bibles are not forced on anybody or into any homes, contrary to what many Orthodox Jews claim about Christian evangelism. "The book has never harmed anyone, you can choose to read it or choose not to read it," he said. "If this happened to Jewish books overseas we would be screaming anti-Semitism."
The incident was also condemned by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, the Jewish Anti Defamation League, and the even the Israeli government issued a statement on it. The ADL condemned the book-burning as a heinous act that was reminiscent of the burnings of the Torah and Talmud in the various pogroms perpetrated against the Jews throughout history. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman, Mark Regev, stated that "Israel is a country in which freedom of religion is one of our highest principles", and that he hoped that the police would launch a thorough investigation into the incident. Unfortunately this is only the latest in a long line of attacks that have been perpetrated on Messianic believers living in Israel. Just a few weeks ago, Orthodox rabbis mounted a vicious campaign against Bat-El Levy, a Jewish believer who was competing in the International Bible Contest in Jerusalem. They tried to get her thrown out of the competition on the grounds that her faith in Yeshua means she cannot be considered a true Jew in their eyes. I posted several comments on the Arutz 7 forum in response to the original article on Bat-El Levy, but the site administrators only published comments that were favourable to their viewpoint. I wrote this great one about the rabbis being like Peter - afraid of a little girl, or perhaps they were afraid she might know her Bible better than they did! No doubt they couldn't delete that posting quick enough. And in March of this year, fifteen year-old Amiel Ortiz was severely wounded, when a nail-bomb that had been planted in a Purim basket exploded in his face. Remember the Jewish believers in Israel in your prayers
In other related news, a NATO soldier and two civilians have been killed during rioting in Afghanistan, after a single copy of the Qur'an was discovered to have been desecrated by a US soldier in Iraq. The soldier had been using it for target practice, and the book was riddled with bullet holes. The US government issued an unprecedented apology over the desecration, the soldier is to be disciplined, and a brand new Qur'an was presented to a local Iraqi mosque. But despite all of this, three people have lost their lives because someone has dared to insult the Islamic religion.
Quote: "A Nato soldier and two civilians were killed in Afghanistan when 2,000 protesters armed with stones tried to break into an airfield in Chaghcharan in protest about a copy of the Koran being used for target practice by a US soldier in Iraq.
I don't condone the actions of this US soldier for one minute, and I don't believe we should purposely desecrate any religious book. But as you can see, the reaction of the Muslims towards the desecration of their holy book is in stark contrast to that of Christians and the burning of the Bibles in Israel. Imagine if hundreds of Qur'ans were burned on the streets of London. There would be a third world war. But when hundreds of New Testament's go up in flames, nobody so much as bats an eyelid. Does that mean Christians don't care about the desecration of their book? No. The Bible is precious to us, for it is the Living Word of God. These people have not reproached us, but they have reproached the Holy One of Israel (Acts 9:4), and God will hold them to account. Praise God that His Word is eternal, and it can never be destroyed.