JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben Ari ripped up a copy of the New Testament and threw it in the garbage.
Ben Ari, of the National Union Party, had his legislative aide, Itamar Ben Gvir, photograph his destruction and released the photo Tuesday to the Israeli daily Maariv.
Lawmakers had received in their Knesset mailboxes copies of the new edition of the New Testament released by the Bible Society in Israel, which distributes Christian books in the country, Ynet reported. Some returned it to the society and others quietly disposed of it.
“Sending the book to lawmakers is a provocation. There is no doubt that this book and all it represents belongs in the garbage can of history,” Ben Ari said, adding that it "galvanized the murder of millions of Jews" throughout history, including during the Spanish Inquisition.
Government spokesman Mark Regev told Ynet that "We totally deplore this behavior and condemn it outright. This action stands in complete contrast to our values and our traditions. Israel is a tolerant society, but we have zero tolerance for this despicable and hateful act."