OTTAWA — The Canada-Israel Committee says it deplores last week’s burning of hundreds of copies of the New Testament in Or Yehuda, Israel, as a violation of fundamental Jewish principles and values.
“As the victims of book-burnings over so many centuries, the Jewish people – more than any group in the world – must reject the intolerance implicit in such a repulsive act,” said CIC National chairman Moshe Ronen.
“It is essential that we ensure respect for the sacred texts of other faith communities and protect the principle of religious freedom in Israel.
“It is incumbent on Israeli and Jewish leadership to denounce this act, for dishonouring one set of religious beliefs dishonours all, and it is a very slippery slope from book burning to more violent forms of intolerance and extremism,” Ronen added.
Last week, a group of yeshiva students in Or Yehuda burned copies of the New Testament and pamphlets urging Jews to convert to Christianity that had been distributed surreptitiously by missionaries in the predominantly observant town of 34,000 near Tel Aviv.
Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon condemned the burning of the books, but not of the conversion pamphlets.
Some 10,000 members of Jews for Jesus are estimated to be in Israel.
Israeli authorities and most Jews frown on missionary activity, although in most cases, it’s not illegal.