US Jewish groups condemn MK Michael Ben-Ari

Conference of Presidents' Malcom Hoenlein calls Ben-Ari's tearing up a New Testament an unacceptable, "outrageous" act.

By JTA
July 21, 2012 15:37
1 minute read.
MK Ben-Ari tearing up a New Testament

MK Ben-Ari tearing up a New Testament 370. (photo credit: Itamar Ben-Gvir)

 
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Several US Jewish groups late this week condemned the public destruction of a copy of the New Testament by MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union).

Ben-Ari, a member of the National Union Party and reportedly a devotee of the late Meir Kahane, invited a legislative aide to photograph him ripping up a New Testament and throwing it in the garbage.

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Ben-Ari then had the photos sent to Maariv. The book was mailed to Ben-Ari and the Knesset's other members by a messianic Jewish group called the Bible Society in Israel.

The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee issued statements condemning the action. In an interview with JTA, Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called it an "outrageous" action that was "not acceptable."

The Jewish Federations of North America told JTA it had no comment on the incident.

The Knesset’s lone Christian parliamentarian, Hanna Sweid of the Hadash Party, told The Jerusalem Post, “This is hooliganism, bullying and an apocalyptic act of hatred that was baseless and unnecessary.”

Other Knesset members, including a spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, condemned the incident, and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin denied Ben-Ari a chance to explain himself on the Knesset floor, saying Ben-Ari should stop giving the Knesset a bad name.

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Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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