Knesset Member Should Apologize for Tearing Copy of New Testament

Jerusalem, July 17, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was horrified by reports that a member of the Israeli parliament tore up a copy of the New Testament and posed for photographs with the destroyed bible. ADL called on Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari to publicly apologize for tearing up a copy of the New Testament he had received after a publisher sent copies to all members of the Israeli Knesset.

"As Jews, we expect others to treat our holy books with respect and understanding," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We should likewise show respect for the holy books of other faiths. A member of parliament and a representative of the State of Israel should know better than to show such profound disrespect for another faith. His actions run counter to Jewish values and the standards of Israel's democratic society."

In a letter to Mr. Ben Ari, the League said he needs to apologize for his "disrespectful act."

"We understand that copies of the New Testament were sent to all members of Knesset," the League wrote to Mr. Ben Ari. "In statements to the media, the publisher has asserted that the intention was not to proselytize, but rather to inform MKs of the wealth of religious texts produced in Israel. However, if your belief was that this distribution constituted proselytizing, we believe a more proper outlet for your concern would be to call on the appropriate authorities to investigate if the manner in which this text was distributed constituted a violation of Israeli law."

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.