- Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.
Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.
After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it.
"The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue," he said.
The newspaper Maariv reported Tuesday that hundreds of yeshiva students took part in the book-burning. But Aharon told The Associated Press that only a few students were present, and that he was not there when the books were torched.
"Not all of the New Testaments that were collected were burned, but hundreds were," he said.
He said he regretted the burning of the books, but called it a commandment to burn materials that urge Jews to convert.
"I certainly don't denounce the burning of the booklets, he said. I denounce those who distributed the booklets."