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.
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