Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jewish Fanatics Burn Bible

Israeli religious fanatics from a Jewish madrassah...sorry, yeshiva...burned Bibles with the support of the local mayor (he called burning documents designed to persuade Jews to convert a "commandment").

This does not mean all Jews are fanatics.
This does not mean all Jewish mayors are fanatics.
This does not mean Israel is an enemy of Christianity.
This does not justify bombing Israel.
This does not mean that Israel poses an existential threat to the West, to Christianity, or to the U.S.

We should publicize Israeli religious fanaticism (as the above-cited Israeli newspaper did). Insulting another man's religion is bad, it is dangerous, it is against our principles. We should consider whether or not we wish to support a country in which such events occur. We should certainly ask if the government of Israel has condemned this insulting behavior. We should educate Israelis about democracy and help them to become responsible members of the modern world. But many countries contain fanatics, although it is admittedly not clear how many contain schools that teach and/or encourage such fanaticism. It is important not to overreact. There are many educated, morally righteous people in Israel. They should not be grouped with the fanatics or subjected to collective punishment because of the behavior of the fanatics. This needs to be dealt with calmly and kept in perspective. It is an issue of concern but one to be solved through reasoned discussion, not violence. This is the 21st century; the Middle Ages ended long ago.