UPDATE: Israeli Bus Driver Fired for Talking About Jesus
But majority of Israelis responding to news item insist Gospel-preaching driver did nothing wrong
Israel Today has learned that a bus driver who was filmed talking to passengers about Jesus earlier this month has been fired by the Kavim bus company.
The anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim celebrated the driver’s dismissal in a statement issued to the press, in which it once again falsely asserted that it is illegal to share the Gospel publicly in Israel.
It has also come to our attention that the driver is facing threats from some in the Muslim community for making disparaging remarks about Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.
The original report:
A video clip of the driver expounding on how Jesus (Yeshua) came to save and how believing in him is in line with Jewish faith was gaining steam on Hebrew-language social media in early June.
“It’s not the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the New Testament. They are one. If you read it, one completes the other, and then you realize that it all comes from the Holy Spirit,” the driver preached.
The driver also told his passengers that Islam and the Koran cannot be considered in the same vein as Christianity, as they goes against biblical values.
“Regarding women, Jesus was so respectful of women,” he explained. “But in Islam, Mohammed married something like 20 young girls. Whatever was for his benefit, he would say that God had approved it. And you [Mohammed] say you believe in the 10 Commandments? Then why in the Koran do you also say to commit murder? Where did you learn that?”
Several of the passengers can be heard asking the driver to stop talking, but he was determined, telling those who didn’t want to hear to “please put on headphones.”
One of Israel’s largest Internet news portals, Ynet, later ran a TV segment on the incident in which they interviewed a passenger who was angry over what he saw as “missionary activity.”
The passenger, who refused to give his name, claimed that the driver’s sharing of his faith in Jesus was “illegal,” apparently because there were children on the bus. In fact, it is not illegal for someone in Israel to publicly share his or her faith, no matter what it might be. It is illegal to specifically target minors for conversion.
Seemingly unimpressed by the passenger’s complaining, one of the Ynet hosts asked, “Would you be so upset if the driver had been preaching chazara b’tshuvah (repentance according to Jewish Law)?”
While the passenger in question continued to insist that the driver had somehow broken the law, those commenting on the Ynet clip on YouTube indicated that they, indeed, saw no difference between those preaching Jesus and those preaching the dictates of the rabbis.
Some of the comments included:
- “It’s interesting that the muezzin can call out [the Muslim call to prayer] every day for everyone to hear, including children, and you all consider this normal.”
- “I thought there was freedom of speech and religion in Israel.”
- “Poor driver. So what if he’s talking nonsense. You don’t have to pay attention.”
- ”100% legal. Every citizen has the right to his or her own faith.”
- “What a bunch of losers are those who complained about this. What do you care what the driver had to say? Hypocrites. If he had been talking about girls or sex or drugs or politics, no one would have cared.”
- ”So what? The Orthodox Jews who bother us to pray with tefillin [phylacteries] are much worse.”
- “At a time when people are chanting terrorist slogans and waving Palestinians flags in the center of Tel Aviv and no one is complaining, this driver says a few words that set off a media storm.”
- “It’s shameful for you to have even reported on this. I see no violation. Where are the children? The driver was speaking with an adult passenger. This is fake news for the sake of ratings.”
Whether or not Ynet sensationalized the matter, the driver’s employer, the Kavim bus company, apparently came under pressure from “anti-missionary” elements and issued the following statement:
“The matter is known to the company. Considering that this is the second complaint on this matter, and after the driver failed to cease his activity, he has been summoned to a disciplinary hearing and the company will weigh whether or not to continue his employment.”