Stockholm police have granted permission to a protestor to burn a Hebrew Bible, or Torah, in front of the Israeli embassy in Sweden, two weeks after a similar planned book-burning generated condemnation from across the Jewish world.
The female protestor plans to carry out the provocative burning tomorrow (Friday).
On July 14, another activist received permission to burn a Torah scroll in front of the Israeli embassy. The 30-year-old activist said that the Torah burning was in response to a Quran burning by a Christian man of Iraqi origin, and called it “a symbolic gathering for the sake of freedom of expression.”
The previous activist later backed down and did not go through with the Torah burning.
A spokesman for the Swedish police said that negotiations are underway with the woman in order to prevent her from actually committing the act, but that the approval for the burning has actually been given.
The latest plan to burn a Torah drew condemnation from Israel. Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said: “I’m appalled by another threat to burn a Torah in Sweden. Threats to harm holy books and Torahs must stop.”
“Soon I will speak with Sweden’s foreign minister and make clear to him that we expect the Swedish government to prevent these events, which could harm relations between our countries,” Cohen said.
Jerusalem Minister Meir Porush said: "We must act to prevent the burning of the Hebrew Bible tomorrow in Sweden in every way, and also make it clear to the Swedish government that the continuation of the legal situation that allows the burning of holy books is unacceptable. An enlightened country does not allow a terrible desecration of the most sacred things."
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Rabbi of the Western Wall, said: "I am shocked and horrified after the Stockholm police approved for the second time to burn a Bible book. In the face of these heinous acts, the Swedish authorities stand weakly, murmuring empty words about freedom that are diminished in the face of such terrible actions - both those committed and those yet to come."
"This is not what freedom looks like; this is what the loss of a moral compass looks like. I call upon the Swedish authorities and all those who hold dear the freedom of expression - it is not too late. I am not pleading for the sake of the sacred scriptures. They have been burned countless times by enemies of the Jews, yet no force in the world could destroy them. I am asking for your sake, for the sake of your souls and your culture. Extinguish the fire," Rabbi Rabinowitz said.