Dozens of Christians held a demonstration Saturday near Kfar Yasif in the Galilee, to protest a late-night talk show host's comments about their religion, with some demanding an official apology from President Shimon Peres.
Lior Shlein was responding to the reinstatement of Bishop Richard Williamson by the Vatican despite his denial of the full extent of the Holocaust.
In the program, Shlein sarcastically denied Christian traditions, saying that Mary was no virgin and that Jesus did not walked on water. The talk- show host said he was doing so as a "lesson" to Christians who deny the Holocaust.
The Vatican was outraged at the attempt at humor, and Shlein later issued a formal apology.
However, the Christian protestors were apparently not appeased, as some 100 residents of the Galilee towns of Judeide, Mayilia, Pasuta, and Kfar Yasif gathered in Saturday's unforgiving weather to show their objection to the Shlein's remarks.
Protest near Kfar Yasif (Photo: Guy Berman)
Some held up signs calling the host "scum" and Channel 10 – on which his program airs – "devils".
One of the demonstrators said he believed the trouble began with the exonerated bishop's controversial comments. "The pope apologized for that, as well as other high-ranking officials from the Christian world," George Anton, of Judeide, told Ynet.
"But despite this Shlein, in an unacceptable way that didn't even entertain his audience, abused the platform given to him by Channel 10 and trampled honor of one of the holy faiths," he said.
We call on Channel 10 not to make do with the hesitant and insincere apology offered by Shlein, apparently at the orders of the producers, and to take the show off the air immediately."
Protestors also called on Shimon Peres to issue a public apology to the Christian faith. The president should renounce Shlein's comments and make clear that his views do not represent Israel, they said.
"If an apology is not forthcoming we will ask the Pope, through leaders of the (Christian) community, to reconsider his visit to Israel in May," one protestor said.