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“Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people”

The quote above is taken from a 1821 play by Heinrich Heine called “Almansor”. In the play itself, the quote is referring to the burning of the Muslim Quran by the Christian Inquisition in Spain. However the quote is most associated with the May 10, 1933 burning of Jewish books by a Nazi crowd in Berlin’s “Babelplatz” (Babylon Plaza). Today, there is a monument standing in that place:

Babelplatz in Berlin

Last Thursday a book burning event took place in the city of Or Yehuda, a small city outside of Tel-Aviv. The event was a local reaction to the intensive activity of Christian missionaries from the sect of “Messianic Judaism” in one of the city’s neighborhoods. The missionaries went door-to-door and distributed written materials, including the New Testament.

Or Yehuda Book BurningThe collection of the books was arranged by Assistant Mayor Uzi Aharon, a lawyer, and a representative of the “Shas” party — an ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) political party, that has representation in the Knesset as well. In an interview to the press today, Mr. Aharon denied initiating the fire itself, claiming it was a spontaneous action of some people. Nevertheless, he did not offer an apology, and stated out that “the residents of Or Yehuda are people with values and a strong orientation towards the Jewish religion and the Jewish tradition”. In addition he proposed during the interview for the government to alter the law that deals with religious conversations, in order to prevent the Messianic Jews from continuing their missionary activities.

In response to the burning of their books, the Messianic Jews demand the opening of an investigation by the police.

I mention the association between the 1933 book burning and the Or Yehuda book burning without further commentary. I would like to hear your comments and find out whether you think these two events can be compared together or not.

Babelplatz Photo by Aaron Siirila; Or Yehuda photo and Source by NRG Ma’ariv

5 Comments

  1. I think its a disgrace that this happens and especially in Israel. Whatever your belief, Messianic Jews or Jews for Jesus, this is a barbaric event and one that I would expect in a third world country. I heard Uzi Aharon on the news and not only was he not apologizing, he was actually defending this action, claiming that the books were inciting against Judaism.

    What makes Israel unique in the Middle East is its democratic rules and free speech. These should be fiercely defended and Mr. Aharon should lose his job for his involvement as a municipal government representative .

  2. Assuming that the books are an incitment against Judaism is exactly that, an assumption. Did he read them? The assumption is wrong by a long shot. Messiah turned people toward the Word He lived, not away from it. Is Judaism no longer the Word He lived? I would be inclined to ask Uzi Aharon.

    I have to agree with Sunny, especially that last statement!

  3. The oppressed become the oppressors, the arrogance of power supersedes reason and compassion. What’s next shall the Messianic Jews sear identifying arm bands and put on boxcars out of the country?

  4. This is so sad. Nausiating actually. Do we all have to always agree with each other to be able to respect each other? I think not. Tip: spending extra money on full Bibles to distribute should prevent this from happening, since no Jew would dare to burn the TaNaKh.

  5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/19/quranburning-church-vows-_n_688217.html

    A Christian Church in America is doing it, too.
    America fought and won that fight…
    … Yet yearns to become that oppressor.

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