MK Ben Ari tearing New Testament
Photo: Tzvika Brut
MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), a member of the Israeli parliament tore up a copy of the New Testament and threw it in the trash, an act that was apparently caught on camera.
Ben Ari and several other Knesset members received by mail on Monday a copy of the New Testament, sent by the Bible Society in Israel, an organization that distributes religious books.
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In the letter sent with the book, director of the Christian organization Victor Kalisher wrote that the new edition “sheds light on the Holy Scriptures and helps understand them."
“We hope the book will help you and illuminate your way,” Kalisher furter wrote.
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.”
Meanwhile, MK Ilan Gilon (Mertez) condemned Ben Ari's actions, saying "it's shocking that someone like that is a member of Knesset."
"One could compare his actions to those of an extreme MP abroad tearing up the Bible. We would all cry out if that happened," he said.
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."
AFP, AP contributed to this report