Sweden approves Torah burning in Stockholm outside Israeli embassy

Aliya and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer expressed strong condemnation of the woman's intention to burn the Torah.

 Burning books. (photo credit: Freddy Kearney/Unsplash)
Burning books.
(photo credit: Freddy Kearney/Unsplash)

Stockholm police have granted a woman in her 50s permission to hold a public gathering outside the Israeli embassy on Friday during which the woman plans to “light the Torah with a lighter,” as reported by SVT Nyheter.

The woman stated in her application that the gathering is a “manifestation for children’s rights in Sweden that are systematically violated.” The event is expected to be attended by four people and is scheduled to take place at 12 noon on Friday.

Responding to the upcoming gathering, Mats Eriksson, the press spokesperson for the police, revealed that they are engaging in a dialogue with the organizer and other parties, including the Israeli embassy, to address potential concerns and ensure safety.

 Israelis take part in a protest against an article published in a Swedish newspaper outside Sweden's embassy in Tel Aviv August 24, 2009 (credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Israelis take part in a protest against an article published in a Swedish newspaper outside Sweden's embassy in Tel Aviv August 24, 2009 (credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Strong condemnation of burning of sacred text

Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer, expressed strong condemnation of the woman’s intention to burn the Torah, a sacred book revered by the Jewish people. He described the event as “shameful” and stated that it cheapens the sacred value of the Torah and hurts Jews worldwide.

Minister Sofer called for the authorities in Stockholm to take immediate action and cancel the planned provocative event, emphasizing the importance of respecting religious sentiments.

"Unfortunately, the burning of holy books starting with the Quran and ending with the Torah is spreading like wildfire," an official in the Jewish community in Sweden told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

"This is a woman who is just looking for attention, [she's] not sane. We hope she won't actually burn the book. We are working with the police to clarify that there is no freedom of speech in this case."

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen responded to this report on Thursday. "I am appalled by the further threat to burn a Torah scroll in Sweden. The threats to harm holy books and Torah books must be stopped.

"I intend to speak with the Swedish Foreign Minister and make it clear to him that we expect the Swedish government to prevent such events, which could damage relations between the countries."

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Places in Israel also reacted to this report: "I am astonished and deeply disturbed by the Stockholm police's second approval of the burning of the Bible. The Swedish authorities' weak response, merely uttering empty words about freedom, pales in comparison to the heinous actions – both those that have already occurred and those that may come. This is not what freedom should look like; it represents a loss of moral direction.

"I implore the Swedish authorities and all those who cherish human freedom of expression to reconsider. There is still time to act. Not for the sake of the scriptures do I make this plea, as they have been burned countless times by those who harbor hatred toward Israel, and no force in the world has been able to prevent it."