Ultra-Orthodox Allegedly Torch Messianic Jew's Car

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BEIT SHEAN - Two ultra-Orthodox men were arrested for allegedly torching the car of a Messianic Jew in the Israeli town of Beit Shean, about 15 miles south of the Sea of Galilee.

Eliav Levine is a Messianic Jew from the former Soviet Union. His car was torched earlier this week when it was parked next to the local police station.

Levine told CBN News that he wasn't exactly surprised because this wasn't the first time the Levines had been harassed.

Several months ago another car of theirs was torched and destroyed, said attorney Calev Myers, who is representing the family.

Two weeks before that, the Levine's 11-year-old daughter was called to the principal's office at her school and questioned by the city's chief rabbi about her parents' activities as Messianic Jews, Myers said.

The Levines were also kicked out of two apartments after their landlords were threatened, and recently a car with loudspeakers on it drove around near their home yelling that missionary Christians should be kicked out of Israel, he said.

Levine said while what happened this week wasn't nice there wasn't anything to do about it.

But Myers said he wants the police to take action before the situation gets worse.

"I'm calling the chief of police to protect the lives of the Messianic Jews being harassed and persecuted solely because of their faith, having done nothing wrong or breached any law in Israel, before the problem gets worse," Myers told CBN News.

"These situations many times are a slippery slope, the worst one of course being Ami Ortiz in Ariel," Myers said in reference to the teenager who was critically wounded when he opened a holiday gift package concealing a bomb that had been sent to his family because they are Messianic Jews.

"We want this to be stopped in Beit Shean before it snowballs out of control," Myers said.

The Israel police said that two people had been arrested in connection with the incident. A spokesman said that all possible motives were being checked, including the trouble generated by the ultra-Orthodox Jews over what they claim is Christian missionary activity.

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Jerusalem Correspondent

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