Police in Israel are investigating the burning of hundreds of New Testaments in a city near Tel Aviv, an incident that has alarmed advocates of religious freedom.
Investigators plan to review photographs and footage showing "a fairly large" number of New Testaments being torched this month in the city of Or-Yehuda, a police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said Wednesday.
News accounts in Israel have quoted Uzi Aharon, the deputy mayor of Or-Yehuda, as saying he organized students who burned several hundred copies of the New Testament. The deputy mayor gave interviews to Israeli radio and television stations after word of the incident surfaced about two weeks ago.
Soon he was talking with Russian, Italian and French television stations, "explaining to their highly offended audiences back home how he had not meant for the Bibles to be burned, and trying to undo the damage caused by the news (and photographs) of Jews burning New Testaments," The Jerusalem Post reported.
Aharon told CNN on Wednesday that he collected New Testaments and other "Messianic propaganda" that had been handed out in the city but that he did not plan or organize a burning. Instead, he said, three teenagers set fire to a pile of New Testaments while he was not present. Once he learned what was going on, he said, he stopped the burning.
It's not news that there are Messianic Jews who do this kind of thing--every religion has its fundamentalists, you know.
Flashback to the wingnut who tried to tell us that this kind of thing went on all the time in Iraq. Somewhere, John McCain and his pastors and Joe Lieberman are sitting in a room, all looking uncomfortably at each other with beady little eyes...