Two Orthodox Jewish residents of the northern Israel town of Beit She'an were arrested on Wednesday a day after they are suspected of having torched the parked car of a local Messianic Jew.
Eliav Levine said his car was burned while it was parked outside the Beit She'an police station. His lawyer, Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, said the entire Levine family has suffered constant harrassment from Beit She'an's religious community.
Beit She'an is home to a very large Orthodox Jewish population, but also has many Messianic residents, many of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
The Orthodox accuse their Messianic neighbors of what they call "missionary activity," and constantly strive to disrupt their lives in the hopes of driving out the believers in Yeshua (Jesus).
Myers said it is time for the police to step up and start protecting all Israeli Jews, regardless of their religious leanings.
While Messianic Jews in Israel have been gaining broader acceptance among average "secular" Israelis, the authorities continue to deny them certain rights and protections, apparently out of fear of the very vocal, influential and often-violent Orthodox community.
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