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Israeli extremist leader tells students “Churches should be burned”

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Jerusalem: Benzi Gopstein, the leader of extremist anti-assimilation group Lehava, said in a meeting with rabbinical students that Christian houses of worship should be destroyed.

church-burning-2014“Churches should be burned”, Gopstein said on Wednesday before an audience of hundreds at a Jewish religious school, according to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Rabbi Moshe Klein, who attended the lecture, questioned Gopstein’s stance and argued that the current world requires a rejection of such an approach, while journalist Beny Ravinovich was also surprised with what Benzi Gopstein had to say.

After a tug of war, Gopstein said he was willing to do 50 years in prison for what he believed, and claimed not to be inciting violence, but simply explaining the thoughts that belonged to a Spanish Jew, Rabbi Rambam Maimonides.

The Lehava organisation subscribes to ideas that denounce assimilation between Jewish and non-Jewish people, and also condemn homosexuality.

For its part, the Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC), the legal wing of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, expressed concern about Gopstein’s remarks, and the centre previously demanded that he be questioned by the authorities for his controversial views.

IRAC leader Rabbi Gilad Kariv said that if Gopstein was not promptly charged for his statements, Israeli society would be justified to say publicly that the legal system allows for incitement, racism and violence, according to Haaretz daily newspaper on Thursday.

(IANS)

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The Church And Priests Should Go Online: Vatican Experts

We had to learn to listen to younger people who live in that [digital] environment, and to understand from them what they find helpful and supportive

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Monsignor Paul Tighe from the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications talks to the Associated Press during an interview. VOA

Priests should get online if they want to connect with people who may no longer attend church but can still be reached via social media, the Vatican’s digital expert said Tuesday.

Monsignor Paul Tighe, who helped develop Pope Francis’ online presence, urged Catholic clergy across the world to embrace social media to reach believers and nonbelievers.

Facebook, data, social media, church
A Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Florida. Aug. 21, 2018. VOA

“Young people are, unfortunately, less present in our churches,” Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, told Reuters at a technology conference in Lisbon.

“Social media is a mechanism that allows us to engage in conversations, to engage with people who otherwise would never come across us and who we are.”

Pope Francis has nearly 18 million Twitter followers and his posts are widely shared, but not all church leaders are following his example, Tighe said.

“In the beginning, some Catholics said social media was nasty and that we should stay out of it,” he said.

pope, chruch
Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) blessing at the end of the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Apr. 1, 2018. VOA

“We have been trying to convince them that the digital arena is a hugely significant part of people’s lives.

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“We had to learn to listen to younger people who live in that [digital] environment, and to understand from them what they find helpful and supportive.”

It was the Irish bishop’s second year at the annual Web Summit — Europe’s biggest technology conference, which this year brought together 70,000 entrepreneurs and guests, including U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (VOA)