That was the headline hidden away in the archives of a 1966 edition of the popular Hebrew newspaper Haaretz. It is a fascinating inside look at what happened when an Israeli university required students to read the “dangerous” New Testament.
That year, students at the Bezalel Institute of Arts in Jerusalem were required to pass an examination on the New Testament. The professor of Art History had taught from selected chapters in the Hebrew translation of the story of Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ). He even gave students addresses of various “Christian missions” in and around Jerusalem where they could get a free copy of the New Testament.
The newspaper report sparked outrage across the country that Jewish students should be required to read “that Christian book.” Then principal of Bezalel, Dan Hoffner, wrote in response: “Without reading this literature, students cannot understand the art of the Middle Ages. What’s the problem? Medieval art is the art of Christianity and the source is the New Testament.”
But much of the public remained unconvinced that Israeli schools should teach the...