Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Some Israeli postmen invoke Jewish law in refusing to distribute New Testaments

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
Amos 8:11-12

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:9 (also Mark 7:7)

Fortunately, the top officials of the Israel Postal Company don't approve of the actions of some of their employees; let's see if they discipline the intolerant postmen. As reported by Kobi Nachshoni of Ynet News, March 5, 2012:

Dozens of Israel Postal Company employees in Ramat Gan refused to distribute thousands of copies of the New Testament to city residents. They claimed such distribution is forbidden according to the halacha laws, and might even be illegal.

Both religious and secular postal workers were asked to hand out mail and advertisements on Monday, along with thousands of holy Christian booklets translated into Hebrew. The workers informed their supervisors that they refuse to distribute such materials.

Postal officials discussed the issue with Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), who in turn talked it over with Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, who demanded to halt the distribution until the matter is legally clarified.

"We always distribute business flyers and we have no problem with that, whether we agree with them or not," one postal employee told Ynet. "But this time it's different. This is missionary material, and from our understanding there's a law against that. It's not a religious issue."

However, one religious mailman explained that distributing the New Testament goes against his word view. "The halacha forbids me from handing out such idolatry material, and when there's a contradiction between my religious belief and what my job requires of me, it's clear to me what I chose," he said. "It's like if my manager were to come and tell me to work on Shabbat."


Missionary material?

According to him this is not the first time the mailmen have refused to distribute the booklets. He said his Gadera counterparts were successful in dodging such distribution, as opposed to Petah Tikva mailmen who went along with it.

MK Orlev said: "It's unacceptable that the Israel Postal Company should participate in distributing missionary materials to the Jewish residents of Israel. We must clarify to the missionaries that the law forbids it."

Israel Postal Company officials responded: "The Israel Postal Company is a governmental company operating in accordance to the Postal Law, which obligates us to distribute any mail it receives. The Israel Postal Company has no right or ability to chose what it can or cannot distribute. Therefore, the mail will be distributed according to the law."

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