Both religious and secular postal workers were asked to hand out mail and advertisements on Monday, along with thousands of holy Christian booklets translated into Hebrew. The workers informed their supervisors that they refuse to distribute such materials.
Postal officials discussed the issue with Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), who in turn talked it over with Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, who demanded to halt the distribution until the matter is legally clarified.
"We always distribute business flyers and we have no problem with that, whether we agree with them or not," one postal employee told Ynet. "But this time it's different. This is missionary material, and from our understanding there's a law against that. It's not a religious issue."
However, one religious mailman explained that distributing the New Testament goes against his word view. "The halacha forbids me from handing out such idolatry material, and when there's a contradiction between my religious belief and what my job requires of me, it's clear to me what I chose," he said. "It's like if my manager were to come and tell me to work on Shabbat."
According to him this is not the first time the mailmen have refused to distribute the booklets. He said his Gadera counterparts were successful in dodging such distribution, as opposed to Petah Tikva mailmen who went along with it.
MK Orlev said: "It's unacceptable that the Israel Postal Company should participate in distributing missionary materials to the Jewish residents of Israel. We must clarify to the missionaries that the law forbids it."
Israel Postal Company officials responded: "The Israel Postal Company is a governmental company operating in accordance to the Postal Law, which obligates us to distribute any mail it receives. The Israel Postal Company has no right or ability to chose what it can or cannot distribute. Therefore, the mail will be distributed according to the law."