Sunday, May 25, 2008
"After a massive 'bible burning' by the deputy mayor and orthodox Jewish students in the town of Or Yehuda, in Israel, a group of Messianic Jews, or 'Jews for Jesus' as they are known, have called for an inquiry into the incident.
Apparently the Ethiopian Jews living in the town were visited by Messianic Jewish missionaries, who believe in Jesus as their saviour. The missionaries dropped off bibles and pamphlets for the residents to peruse. Several days later, the deputy mayor of the town went through the town shouting through a loudspeaker for everyone to hand over the bibles to a group of Orthodox Jewish students who were going around and collecting them. The students then piled up the bibles and burned them.
The incident brings out an increasing tension between Orthodox and Messianic Jews in Israel. Orthodox Jewish groups have cheered the book burning, while Messianic Jews have criticized the town and the students for burning the holy books.
Proselytizing to Ethiopian Jews is a sensitive issue, as some Ethiopians claim that they were forced to convert to Christianity while in Ethiopia. Some Israelis have voiced concern that many of the Ethiopians who came to Israel in recent years claiming to be Jewish may in fact be Christian, thus adding to the tension."