The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) strongly criticized on Wednesday member of the Knesset Michael Ben-Ari after he tore up a copy of the New Testament in front of cameras in his Parliament office.
The copy had been sent to him by Victor Kalish, the head of the a Christian publishing society.
In a statement issued on Wednesday ADL head Abraham Foxman said “As Jews, we expect others to treat our holy books with respect and understanding. 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,” Foxman added. “His actions run counter to Jewish values and the standards of Israel’s democratic society."
Ben-Ari justified his act saying "This horrible book caused the murder of millions of Jews in the Inquisition and the auto-da-fe's,” before adding that sending the book was "ugly, provocative, and missionizing."
The ADL is not the only one to have condemned Ben-Ari. Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin also slammed the MK for ripping the New Testament. “Imagine what would happen if a member of Parliament in a different country burned the Hebrew Bible because he thought it had been sent to him in an attempt to provoke,” he said.
“Democracy means freedom of expression,” Rivlin continued, “but not freedom to ignore the feelings of believers of other faiths.”