History of LDS - Jewish Connections
BYU in Jerusalem
Noteworthy interaction has accompanied Brigham Young University's foreign study program in Jerusalem (begun 1968), based
first at a hotel and then at a kibbutz. Seeking a permanent facility, BYU leaders were granted a location on Mount Scopus by
Jerusalem's municipal authorities. Construction began in 1984 on the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies and, because it
was such a prominent facility on such a choice site, drew opposition; ultra-Orthodox Jews, suspecting a "missionary center"
under academic cover, warned of "spiritual holocaust." However, anti-Mormon campaigns failed to halt construction of the
center, partly because U.S. congressmen and Jewish leaders, as well as Israeli liberals, defended it. The controversy reached
Israel's Knesset, which obliged BYU to strengthen its nonproselytizing pledge. This contest was linked to the larger debate
between Israel's secularists, who valued pluralism, and its militant Orthodox, who feared a new alien presence.