JERUSALEM, July 17 – An Israeli lawmaker tore up a copy of the New Testament to protest against the dissemination of the “despicable book,” which was sent to members of parliament by a Christian organisation.
MP Michael Ben Ari of the ultra-nationalist National Union opposition party was one of the Knesset members who received by mail on Monday a copy of the “Book of Testaments.”
It contains the Jewish Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament, and the New Testament, the Gospels and epistles of the Christian faith written after the time of Jesus.
A letter sent with the book from the Bible Society in Israel director Victor Kalisher said the new edition “sheds light on the holy scriptures and helps understand them. In addition, the references show the close correlation” between the two.
“We hope the book will help you and illuminate your way,” Kalisher wrote.
A picture published on Israeli news website NRG-Maariv taken by Ben Ari’s aide shows the lawmaker tearing up the book.
“This despicable book galvanised the murder of millions of Jews during the Inquisition and during auto da fe instances,” he was quoted as saying in reference to the New Testament.
“This is an ugly missionary provocation by the church; this book and its senders should be in history’s trash can,” Ben Ari said on NRG-Maariv.
A parliamentary spokesman said that since it was a book and not dangerous materials that was sent, there was no reason to get involved in the lawmakers’ mail.
Kalisher was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.