The Church of the Latter Day
Saints is building a "study center"
on the Mt. of Olives, next door to
Jerusalem's Hebrew University.
Does it pose a threat as a
missionary headquarters, and does
Israel's definition of democracy
include the right' of non•Jews to
bassadors the whole world over."
made by the president of BYU and by Ezra
Indeed, the Mormons, for the most part,
Taft Benson, the new head of the Mormon
enjoy strong support within Israel. In
Church. In their appeals to the Israeli
addition to Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek,
public-as well as to world Jewish
who has emerged as the Mormons' fore-
opinion—the Mormons have emphasized
most advocate, most Israelis seem to ac-
their tradition as an honorable, respectful
cept the guarantees of the church against
people, considerate of the laws and tradi-
tions of other faiths and societies. Numer-
Still a vocal, if small, number of Israelis
ous letters and appeals on behalf of the
deeply committed to stopping the
Mormons have come from Jews and other
Mormon project. Despite all possible assur-
non-Mormons, attesting to the Mormons'
ances from the Mormons promising to
scrupulous adherence to the law as well as
refrain from missionary work in Israel, ac-
their respect for other religious faiths. Fur-
tive and even violent opposition towards
thermore, thousands of Mormons who have
the Mormons (chiefly from among ultra-
visited Israel have publicly declared their
respect and support for Israel, while em- ' Orthodox Jews) has not subsided. In fact,
it may even be growing. A recent headline
phasizing that they— as non-Jewish friends
in the Israeli press announced: "Israeli
of the State— serve to enhance Israel's
Police are Taking Steps to ProteCt Mor-
image in the world.
mons in Israel."
A recent full-page advertisement in the
Thus far, hostilities directed at Mormons
Jerusalem Post, sponsored by the 1,873
and visible Mormon sympathizers have in=%
alumni of BYU programs in Israel since
eluded threatening phone calls, bomb
1968, expresses: "We have been privileged
scares, physical harassment of Mormon
to become intimately acquainted with the
country [Israel] and its citizens, and we , children, and refusals by landlords to
extend or honor apartment contracts with
regard ourselves as Israel's goodwill am-
The new Mormon study center in Jerusalem,
foreground, above, is being built on the
Mount of Olives, just below the campus of
Hebrew University, which appears in the
Above left, Orthodox Jews pray on the plaza
of the Western Wall in protest against the .
Continued on next page
•-• • •
' ' ' • ' ''''